|Fans, Ambassadors and Adjusting for Change|
|Written by Gabriella Sannino|
|Tuesday, 29 May 2012 13:29|
We marketers are a pretty predictable bunch, you know? I can't count, and this includes our own blog posts, how many times I've read something like, "Unless you've been living under a rock for the past…"
What if somebody writes us back and says, "You know what, Ms. Know It All Marketer with your fancy schmancy blog post? I really HAVE been living under a rock, and I don't know jack-all about what you're referring to, so how bouts you shut up about my living arrangements and write something I can really use already?" Just saying…
Another thing we're predictable about is new marketing lingo. Apparently, our industry isn't happy with calling a spade a spade… we have to call it things like "shovel" and "sticks with wings" and "hole-diggers". It probably has something to do with my theory that we're born with keytermitis.
Fans > Super Fans > Fan Ambassadors
One (I say "one" because I'm sure we've added a few since I started writing this post) of the many terms we're using is "ambassadors". As in, (trumpets and drum rolls) "Your fan ambassadors!"
Interesting. Some smart marketer said, "Hey, we have fans, right? Those fans like social. Why, they even use social. –And since they'll talk about us whether we start it or not, why not reward them?" The upfront marketing says, "Empower, encourage and reward fans who go above and beyond to promote and share the passion of a brand."
Behind the scenes, however, we know we're going to build more followers, traffic and (another drum roll) revenue for the company.
I remember (back in the day) when we used to call them advocates and influencers. Advocates, well… advocated… because they really enjoyed the product or company. Merely by sharing that enjoyment, they then became influences. The message for people unfamiliar with the brand – all word of mouth, all the time – becomes, "I can see how much my friend/co-worker/acquaintance/family member is enjoying this product. I bet if I had that product I'd enjoy it just as much."
Brand advocates and influencers were built on emotions instead of incentives. Fan ambassadors are exactly the opposite. No matter how you put it, any reward other than the natural one of product enjoyment is an incentive.
Which, of course, is all a way of saying you just bought your fans.
Adjusting for Change? What's REALLY Changing?
Being predictable isn't all bad. Even today, we do many things that remain the same; I don't care what name you put on it. For example, we (and now I mean Level343, not necessarily all marketers) will always talk about content. Why? Because content drives traffic, and it drives sales.
I recently read an article where someone in the industry complained about "content is king".
They said (to paraphrase because I can't find the link), "We have all this stuff coming down, all these algorithm changes, and people want to know what to do. And all people are saying is 'Look at your content, test your content, put out more content'. Yeah, that's some brilliant advice."
To which I reply, "While I appreciate your sarcastic, yet extremely idiotic commentary on the negligent information provided by my industry, allow me to drop some nuggets of wisdom on your head. That is, most exactly, some brilliant advice."
We want to think things are changing – and in some places, they really are. For example:
Many articles are now discussing (at length, I might add) how we should be focusing on people when optimizing a website rather than robots. It wasn't always this way, was it? It used to be "Drop those keywords like they're hot!"
Of course, that was before we realized search engines were just another marketing platform, that people search, ask questions and buy (i.e. rather than the SEs). It was back in the days when titles were ugly and keywords were stuffed.
Local SEO is most assuredly taking over, but is it taking over globally (local SEO on a global scale: is that an oxymoron)?
If you have thousands of stores throughout the world, isn't there a point where creating local citations becomes less than cost effective? –And, hasn't it always been of major consideration for smaller businesses?
I don't know about you, but as a business owner myself, I've always been interested in getting good reviews. So, while the heavy focus on local SEO has developed into large-scale interest, it isn't really a change… is it?
The integration of social into search is a big change. You have me there. I mean, it's not like we've spent years talking to each other about this site, that product or XYZ company. Well, we have, but not quite in the same way.
Search and social used to be separate entities – enough so that you could have both an SEO and a social marketing department in your agency. Now social is an essential part of a campaign, and needs to be incorporated from the start – not as a last ditch effort.
However, in the long run, we come back to the one, huge, undeniable elephant in the room.
Content Still Does the Dirty Work
Depending on what type of marketer you are, you may think your particular field is the magic ingredient of online marketing and sales. You might think PPC does it, or social. You might even think its plain old link building. Drop some links and anything'll fly, right?
Links? Those anchor references are wrapped around content. Search snippets, image searches, blog posts, articles… it's all content.
And now, thanks to the many algo changes, people are starting to realize how important it is that the quality of the content is higher than a third grader's dissertation on dirt.
That content is important, because it drives the campaign, the site, the brand and, ultimately, becomes responsible for creating and reinforcing your advocates… even if you want to call them ambassadors.
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