By Allan Maurer
Paid ad campaigns on Facebook and Twitter helped Florida Blue Cross Blue Shield rebrand itself as Florida Blue earlier this year, and it helped the firm significantly grow its online community.
“They not only saw significant growth in followers and likes,” says Justin Freid, director of digital media at TPG, which helped Florida Blue with its “Florida Proud” compaign, “they also saw more people interacting with the brand.”
To do that, says Freid, “You need an understanding of what kind of content resonates with consumers. You can’t just go out and preach your message, ‘We’re changing our name and this is why you should follow us.’ That doesn’t work in social media.”
Successful social media campaigns require planning out a strategy, he notes. “Who are you trying to convince and why? Using that strategy, we rolled out and did testing. What was getting shared and retweeted and “at” replies.”
Freid heads up the interactive marketing department at TPG, where he oversees SEM, SEO and social practices. He is an expert in lead generation and customer acquisition, having run successful integrated marketing campaigns for Fortune 1000 clients. Justin co-authored his first book, Blogging Made Simple, earlier this year and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.
More on paid social media advertising at Digital East
Freid will discuss how to use paid social media advertising to advantage at the upcoming Digital East conference Oct. 2-3 in Herndon, VA, where he’ll be joined by dozens of digital marketing, media and business thought-leaders.
In the case of the Florida Blue campaign, TPC found that one of the firm’s major demographic markets, females aged 25-34 were into healthy activities. So, content related to yoga poses, running, and healthy eating resonated with them.
“That’s a win-win for Florida Blue, because they want healthy customers,” says Freid.
“We also had a Medicare campaign,” he adds. “You don’t see a lot of people 65-plus who are active on social media networks, but those who do have Facebook and Twitter accounts are very active. You can finely target them.”
Targeting is going to get crazy
Targeting, Freid says, “is going to get crazy.”
He notes that a recent study pointed out that 52 percent of Americans are also looking at a second screen, phone, tablet, or laptop, while watching TV. So the Florida Blue “Florida Proud” campaign tied TV spots to its Twitter hashtag.
Freid believes that although even with DVRs, TV advertising still has a huge reach, more people over the next five years will move away from watching sitcoms and sports on broadcast TV. “They’ll be on their tablet or laptop connected to the Hulus of the world.”
“You’ll see a lot of the larger brands doing 15-30 second spots on Hulu” and other digital video sources, he says.
More precise personalization coming
There will also be an increasing amount of personalization. “When you have all that data – user behavior plus demographics – you’ll know Joe Smith was looking for a golf putter and is now watching a golf program and can send him an offer for a putter.”
Some companies – even industries – are having trouble deciding on what their social media goals actually are, Freid says. “In some industries it may be a great option for sales. In others, that’s not what it’s meant for.”
While for many companies social becomes a customer service channel, Freid thinks that will change as Facebook, Twitter and other networks develop new advertising methods (something we’ll discuss on the TechJournal in an upcoming story later this week).
The worst thing you can do
But before your firm embarks on a social media strategy, Freid warns that the worse thing you can do is “Hand your social media management over to a 22-year-old with no business experience. You have to have some knowledge of business and customer service.”
Finally, he notes that “Humor can play a significant and viral role in social media.”
For instance, he points to the following Twitter exchange between Taco Bell and Old Spice.
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