A Strategic Framework For Your Social Media

We were proud to be part of the nationally-acclaimed Blogwell Social Media Conference last week. While the focus was on big brands use of social media, the day was filled with powerful ideas and valuable insights for radio and media.

One of the most valuable presentations was P&G’s social media framework approach. Global External Relations Manager, Anitra Marsh presented powerful examples to illustrate how P&G is exploring social media as an engagement tool.

Olay skincare has a site called olayforyou.com to help key skin-conscious consumers select the best product and treatment for their skin. P&G also teamed up with the vibrant WebMD community to help extend its reach into those most interested in learning more about skincare.

Marsh also provided a framework P&G uses to help assess and guide social and online strategies for its brands. As you might expect, the framework begins with a firm understanding of the brand’s core consumer.

1) Understand why she is online. What messages resonate with her? The key is to be where she is. For example, P&G found that the Olay Pro X consumer was very savvy with online research. The partnership with WebMD fit perfectly for her. In fact, WebMD had very little information about skincare. That gave P&G and opportunity to help supply content.

2) Migrate from a holistic messaging practice to an interdependent message environment. Instead of the traditional messaging strategy where a single message is communicated across all media vehicles, the social media strategy is to use a common narrative throughout the media, but let the messaging be tailored to the medium’s role and strength. The Hugo Boss brand fragrance set up a hugocreate.com site to encourage the design creativity of its core consumers. Over 13,000 consumers submitted unique versions of the brand’s iconic army flask. P&G then migrated many of those designs to use in the traditional advertising.

3) Improve continuous listening and “choiceful engagement.” P&G uses a proprietary internal system to monitor 90 percent of consumer reactions, responses, comments, etc. for each of its brands. In addition, 30-40 percent of the brands now have “community managers” (CM’s) who are tasked with monitoring and responding to the brands social community. The CM’s listen to what is being said and then engage with consumers in certain areas. To determine which areas to engage, each brand has set up 4-5 topic areas that trigger engagement by the CM. For example, Pantene focuses on consumers comments looking for “tips & tricks” on healthy hair. The CM’s response is designed to strengthen Pantene’s healthy hair position.

An important caveat, Marsh pointed out was that although the primary responsiblity for the community lies with the CM, it’s everyone’s responsibility to “listen” to consumers. She used the example of Cover Girl’s new screw-top cosmetic case. By collectively listening, P&G found a common theme that consumers were having difficulty using the new packaging. With that learning, they were able to create some simple how-to steps via websites like “Ellen” (a spokesperson for the brand) to help consumers with the product, avoiding a costly and potentially embarrassing recall.

4) Build in message refreshing upfront. In addition to starting the conversation, P&G has learned that they need to build in a message refreshing process. Message refreshing provides an ongoing spark to encourage more engagement with the existing social network. However, instead of waiting and reacting, the brands develop a message refreshing framework – Launch –> Refresh –> More refreshed. To do that, P&G looks to “conversation calendars” to help know what topics consumers will be talking about. Conversations may center on the Oscars in March, the World Series in October, and other external events to help plan how to refresh the message.


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