By UCLA X425 Student Brad Delva
“Understanding Social Media Tools with Serena Ehrlich”
Guest speaker Serena Ehrlich came to the classroom with incredible energy and captivated the class with her social media expertise until well after the 10PM end time.
After 12 years working for Business Wire, Serena sought new opportunities outside the corporate PR world and looked to social media. She was introduced to Twitter in its infancy and immediately saw the potential. Proof of her early adoption for the platform is seen in her Twitter handle – @Serena, a handle that’s often mistaken for celebrities such as Serena Williams. Having seen the rapid development of Twitter over the last few years, Serena understands the platform better than most and has utilized this skill in her work with various social media agencies, dealing primarily with celebrities. She tells the class, “Always be pimpin’ and push your Twitter handle everywhere.” Social media is a constant conversation that goes on whether or not we are present. She goes on to share her four-step approach for social media and the tools available to help us out.
STEP 1: Setting Goals
The first thing that Serena mentioned as an essential part of social media is to set realistic goals. It’s estimated that each sale is now the result of 14 different impressions, each of which must be planned accordingly. These impressions are all part of the marketing funnel, starting from brand awareness and interactions, down through engagement, advocacy and brand loyalty. The ultimate goal is to guide customers through this funnel via the 14 different impressions, each of which will depend on the core customer’s purchasing process.
STEP 2: Start Listening
We are reminded that social media is not a one-man show, but a constant dialogue. Most times, we can learn what we need to say simply by listening first. Search the web for conversations and utilize tools such as Google Alerts, Google Blog Search and Google Trends. Sites like SocialMention.com are also incredibly valuable, as you can easily measure a brand’s positive vs. negative sentiment, popular keywords, top content contributors, trending hashtags, etc. Serena says, “be receptive to haters, more than lovers. This tells you what to fix.”
Monitoring the online chatter can also help you avoid a crisis or minimize the damage by taking swift action when one arises. There are many great tools to help, Sysomos being the favorite mentioned. Others include Radian 6, Cyfe, ThinkUp App and Meltwater, which was noted to be the most expensive of them all, although arguably the most effective.
STEP 3: Pick your Platforms and Create an Editorial Calendar
Once you have an idea regarding what people are saying and where, you can choose the appropriate places to reach them. Content should then be created and shared to appeal to the audience and how they want to be perceived. Content creation should be logged in order to track results. Each item should be listed by date, goal or purpose, and asset type, at the very least. With tools like Edgerank Checker, and the various Twitter helpers like Twittercounter, Social Bro, etc, we can see the effectiveness of our content. Once you determine which content performs well and generates the most attention, continue to post similar things!
STEP 4: Find Influencers
Within the wonderful online world, there are key authoritative figures with opinions closely followed and respected by the masses. Almost every field and subject area has a different group of these elite voices, so its important to seek these people out, determine what they are talking about, and encourage them to say good things about your own brand/products. While there are tools like Klout, Peerindex, and Alltop (among many others) that help rank influence, Serena warns that we must examine influencers with caution and be careful to draw the line between the true “experts” and those that just continuously spill misinformed opinions, often times jumping between subjects. All in all, finding key influencers and getting them to evangelize for us can go a long way toward helping us reach our target customers.
Serena’s approach to social media helps makes a clear road map for what would normally be an overwhelming sea of technology, marketing jargon and shameless promotion. With proper observation, utilization of the tools available (many of which are free), strategic planning and intelligent execution, we can drive our target customers down the marketing funnel and to the cash registers.