Rockinmarbella fell in love with Social Media, with 800 million users on Facebook, 200 million on Twitter and other networks also booming, they realised the potential of digital routes to market.
If you don’t know your Twitter from your Tumblr, or your Facebook from your Flickr, then a huge well of potential new customers for your business is lying untapped right now. A recent survey by Research In Motion, the makers of BlackBerry, found that 79% of small firms using social networks felt it helped them to compete more effectively with larger competitors.
In 2007, Rockinmarbella secured an exclusive 5-year lease on the Plaza de Torros, a 12,000 seater, ex bullfighting arena in Puerto Banus, Marbella, Spain to promote events from Davis Cup (2009 Spain QF versus Germany) to X Factor concerts.
Concerts that would capitalise on people's inexhaustible appetite for reality stars who were in the vortex of their 15 minutes of fame along with some established acts such as: JLS, Leona Lewis, Seal, Anastasia, Shakira, Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, Deep Purple, Jamiroquai, Alexandra Burke, Diversity...
Each event initially used an exhaustive route to market of conventional, costly and time consuming advertising, PR and promotions: posting of 3,000 roadside hoardings, hand distribution of over 500,000 flyers, dragging banners behind small planes, wraping local/tour buses, advertising in Spanish versions of the Daily Mail, Sun and News of the World, advertorials in 35 glossy titles, in store promotions with El Corte Inglis, in flight promotions with British/Monarch Airways, Groupon vouchers, ticketing with Ticketmaster, website awareness, daily radio adverts on the six key English speaking stations, radio and press interviews to promote and placate a sceptical and transient audience of 1.6million ex-patriots and holiday-makers.
However, the best ROI, by a considerable margin, was the use of Facebook and Twitter in conjunction with dynamic SEO website and podcasts on Youtube.
Twitter cohorts were established to spread the word, postings were conversational and quick fire – the right forum to give sound bites of the latest news, corporate accounts provided personal insights and stings from the forthcoming talent (by way of comfort and hype), and most importantly interaction to customer queries.
Facebook was about sharing and involvement – so it was used to post links to presentations, photos of new events, invitations to events and to ask customers questions useful for research.
LinkedIn was the place to showcase complete professional credentials and business ethics to potential collaborators.
Google+, used, to segment people into targeted groups by their interests which we responded to with the pertinent and relevant information: bands, hobbies, proximity, competitions, price points, travel, timings and so on.
Additionally, we utilized blogger.com, as blogging represented a serious means to present the company in a positive light. In this case as a fire-fighting tool used to dispel rumors. We encouraged staff to blog, sharing intimate and insider experiences of the company and its events. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, surveys established new contours for the blogosphere: 12 million American adults say they have created blogs; blog readership now stands at 49% of Internet users, or 67 million Americans.
Once channels of social media interaction were established, consistently staff responded to all correspondence received, which was essential to impress existing and potential customers. A survey by Mr Youth, a New York-based marketing agency specializing in social media, found that brands using social networking are responding to only 61 per cent of inquiries made on their Twitter accounts, and 55 per cent of inquiries on Facebook – and yet conversions to purchase have reached as high as 80 per cent when potential customers received a response.
Users could be cynical about cold contact via social networks, we eased that caution by using contact passed on via a friend, encouraging existing followers to recommend RockinMarbella by giving us a 'like' or sharing a link, this was a useful tactic of reaching more potential customers. With this growing base of followers in place, we generated interest in new events and merchandising, ahead of launch by making social media an integral part of a broader development of our marketing process.
Integrating social media analytics was critical to understanding the role of social media in our customer engagement. Over time we were able to show the impact of social media on customer activity. Utilizing user-friendly social media dashboards such as HootSuite we were able to track the activity of all of our social media sites at once, this kind of information was easily accessible and, most importantly, not hugely time-consuming. It's understandable that many companies are yet to take full advantage of social media – so say the experts at research consultancy TNS, who recently completed a survey of more than 72,000 consumers in 60 countries and concluded that brands are losing time and money online with ineffective social media strategies.
Embracing social media strategy, to build awareness of the company and its events, set aside the desire to see immediate results just to build relationships. Over the period 2007 - 2010 it was quantified that 78% awareness had been generated by social media that perpetuated 61% of sales at our highest margins (no commissions being due). It also provided a dynamic CRM platform enabling the planning and shaping of future events.
Such results afforded the methodology to lessen any reliance on the aforementioned conventional, exhaustive, and costly routes to market, halving marketing spend per event whilst increasing revenue and margin.