Social media marketing is all the buzz today- you can’t read any online marketing newsletter or industry publication without coming across an article about the next frontier in the world of interactive marketing- social media.
Most of the articles out there about social media are in agreement that it is an important new medium. Most of the thought pieces also discuss effective monetization as the key to the growth of social media advertising in the upcoming months. There are hundreds of examples and case studies on the cool new things that companies are doing to promote brands and continue the conversation with their core audience. Widgets, MySpace & Facebook applications, virally shared content on social networks among “friends” of “friends”, and virtual “gifts” are all part of the new marketing mix.
But it is important to keep in mind that these social marketing campaigns do not live in a vacuum. Sure, the viral aspect of social networks can certainly help propagate the social marketing media mix, but you still need to make sure people can find you. Many companies are investing vast resources into creating assets for the social media mix, and then just leaving them in the space in hopes the viral machine will take care of the distribution, but this could be a costly mistake.
A June 3rd article in Online Media Daily by Mark Walsh entitled Goldstein At IAB: Marketers Can’t Ignore Social Media references a social media marketing campaign for the BMW Series 1 model. According to the article, the campaign included a virtual customizer application that allowed users to go on a “virtual joyride” with their social network friends, although the article did not reference which specific properties were utilized. Sounds cool right? I thought it did, so I decided to do a bit more research to find out how the social application works.
The only problem is I can’t seem to find it! And if a certified AdWords pro can’t find it through search, the general population will probably have an even harder time. This is a major problem for BMW as they expended a lot of effort to create this interesting application that is virtually invisible unless I happen to be a “friend” of BMW on whatever social networking site the campaign utilized. BMW missed a huge opportunity with this campaign due to the lack of an integrated plan to maximize the traffic, and allow people to find the custom application.
Nothing popped in the paid or organic results for relevant searches like “BMW customizer”, “BMW customizer application”, “BMW social network application”, “BMW MySpace page” “BMW Facebook page” or many other related queries. As a result, the overall return on the campaign must have been significantly stifled by the fact that the no one can find this new application despite the fact the application is discussed in the media. Even after reading an article about the campaign/application with quotes from the agency that developed the campaign- it is nowhere to be found!
The lack of integrated efforts to promote the social campaign has certainly impacted the return on investment for BMW. Even though the majority of traffic hitting the social campaign is viral, a huge opportunity was wasted by not driving additional traffic through integrated marketing efforts.
So, what should BMW have done? Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series to find out.