Happy Social Media Week!

You could be missing more than just great talks if you weren't aware of Social Media Week…  It is Social Media Week this week. If you knew that, great. If you are attending one of the free or paid for events, even better. But, if you are in a marketing role and this is news to you then consider this a wake up call.

Every marketing team in every industry needs to be actively monitoring social media, even if they are not themselves proactive in social channels. This is because your customers, whoever that might include, use social media and have the potential to post about you. It is not just for protection though that you should pay attention. Opportunities can occur via social media. I gain something new almost everyday from someone in my network. It might just be a good pub fact or an unexpected smile at a great photo that snaps me out of a grump, but it just as easily might be a new business lead or some insight that helps me be better at my job.

That's why Social Media Week should not be passing you by. Just search for #SMW14 or #SMWLDN on Twitter and you will pick out something helpful, I'm sure.

I want to share a recent example to reinforce my point, and I do have a point I promise.

We started working with a niche broker recently to generate content and distribute it across Twitter and LinkedIn. While researching and developing the strategy for them, we discovered that a Tweet had been published about them back in 2010 saying how great they were. This Tweet went unnoticed for four years until we ran a simple search on the platform for brand mentions.

Now, it has obviously not caused any harm to their brand having this post floating around the World Wide Web, but there were a number of opportunities missed because this wasn't picked up.

1. Make them feel special - if someone compliments you, it is courteous to return the sentiment. When Ryan in the OC told Marisa he loved her and she replied with "Um, thanks" how do you think that made him feel? Rubbish, that's what! (Yes I did just reference the OC...is that bad?!) So our client missed out on the chance to appreciate their customer's comments and further strengthen their relationship.

2. Share the love - a public thumbs up can be retweeted and shared so other customers and prospects can see it. It can also be sent around employees to show they are doing a good job. Any extra benefit was lost by this tweet not being picked up.

3. Ambassadors are hard to come by - to have a customer actively praise you is rare, especially for a financial services brand. Therefore, you need to grasp these moments with both hands and shout it from the rooftops. Many of your 'fans' on social media are passive. Once you find an ambassador, it is essential that they are nurtured to maintain the relationship. A recommendation from them costs nothing. Advertising, marketing, PR and sales activity, however, definitely cost more than nothing.

Yesterday, I attended Five Ways to Drive Social Value Across the Customer Journey, a Social Media Week event run by Rob Blackie, Director of Social at OgilvyOne. I found it reassuring that much of Rob's content confirmed the theories and processes that my team and I already apply on a daily basis. However, this notion of the fan to ambassador ratio within followers was something that got me thinking. With 22% of fans being ambassadors and 55% of ambassadors not even following your social media, the time to start thinking about the importance of these relationships is now.

So my point is...if you work in marketing, you simply have to be more active on social media even if you do not want to post content. Become one of the +300 million active LinkedIn users,  +270 million monthly active Twitter users and +200 million Instagram users. That’s quite a lot of people…they must be onto something! It is only by taking more of an active interest in social media that you will get more comfortable with the channels, spot opportunities and protect the reputation of your brand.

If you have totally missed Social Media Week, don't worry - every week is social media week for us and we'd be happy to meet up for a coffee to talk about how your business could make use of the various channels.