By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR
Recently, I invited Idil Cakim, the author of the book ‘Implementing Word of Mouth Marketing’to be a guest speaker at my Social Media Marketing class at St Francis College.
Cakim has worked on an extensive number of digital campaigns and research studies. Her book succinctly explains the dynamics of online word of mouth. It is a practical guide that helps organizations identify the right online influencers, craft the stories that will resonate with their audiences, and build sustainable communities vial social media.
Cakim presented five core rules for digital marketing strategies:
– #1 Focus on Reach and Relevance
– #2 Recruit Many, Speak 1:1
– #3 Have a Shareable Message
– #4 Build a Long-Term Relationship
– #5 Measure Before, During and After the Campaign
The fifth rule is one of my favorites, as measurement is not always budgeted into campaigns, but should be. It also connects to rule number 1 – reach and relevance. You can only know whether you have connected with the right influencers and gained maximum reach, if you measure it.
Influencing the influencers remains to be an effective way to increase the reach and impact of an organization’s marketing campaign. During her presentation, Cakim emphasized the importance of finding the right influencers that also have the reach to spread the word.
Among the case studies she shared was a campaign for NY Needs You (NYNY), a non-profit organization that provides college students from low-income backgrounds the support, information and access necessary to realize their career aspirations.
First-generation college students drop out at 5 times the rate of their peer group – only 11% graduate (Pell Institute, 2011). NYNY closes the opportunity gap through an intensive career development and leadership training program for high-potential, first-generation college students.
NYNY needed to boost its online presence to communicate effectively with its mentors, students, applicants and donors. Following a survey of their constituents, they focused their efforts on the two channels most used by their audience: Facebook and the NYNY website. They also identified influencers and asked them to contribute to their Facebook page. The NYNY team also developed an engaging editorial calendar.
As a result, NYNY doubled the size of its Facebook and Twitter communities without spending any marketing dollars within a year. The organization created a following of approximately 2,000 influencer fans during that time and increased the organization’s website traffic to more than 132,000 visits.
It is a powerful example of how companies with a smaller budget can implement social media campaigns that support their business goals by focusing on reach, relevance and key channels.