JWT Unveils The Social Media Checklist

New report reveals 12 best social media practices for brands

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While the fast-moving social media sphere is still in its infancy, it’s getting increasingly crowded and, as a result, increasingly confusing.

New York, NY (Vocus) July 7, 2010

In a world where Twitter and Facebook are part of our daily vocabulary, it’s no longer enough for businesses to say they want to play in the social media space; they must monitor changing consumer attitudes to see which social media path can best drive brand behavior.

JWT, the largest advertising agency in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world, spoke with a panel of 18 professionals in the social media sphere to create 12 actionable recommendations for brands. Contributors included Brian Solis, author of Engage!, blogger at BrianSolis.com; Nathaniel Hansen, co-founder of The Socializers; Lorrie Thomas, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy; and Peter Kim, managing partner of North America, Dachis Group.

In the report, they share their insights on past and current trends, comment on their own experiences and relate these to broader social and consumer trends.

The 12 best practices highlighted in the JWT Social Media Checklist include:

1.    Stop, look and listen: Evaluate the full spectrum of your social media presence. If it’s not truly based in your overall strategy, engage in a retrospective planning process: Do the planning almost in isolation of what you’re currently doing in social media.
2.    Got social vibrancy? Do consumers care enough to talk about it? If not, maybe you don’t belong in social media.
3.    Consider linking up with existing sources: If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. See if there’s a conversation under way that your brand would like to join.
4.    Quality over quantity: The initial thrill of accumulating tens of thousands or millions of friends or views is over. An army of friends, fans and followers is meaningless if you’re not reaching the right audience and/or motivating the desired action.
5.    Figure out who’s speaking and what the voice is: If it’s the brand itself that’s speaking, figure out how to translate its personality to this sphere—the brand’s voice, tenor, sentiment and purpose in social media—and stay consistent.
6.    What’s the value exchange? What do consumers get in return for viewing, interacting with, contributing to or amplifying your content or campaign?
7.    Assume the worst: Assume your brand will be significantly embarrassed at some point. Don’t forget PR 101 in your race to experiment in social media. Have a crisis management plan in place for dealing with worst-case scenarios across every platform.
8.    Empower your advocates: To be most effective and to reach critical mass, you must be willing to scale your efforts beyond a centralized communications model.
9.    Don’t constantly defend your brand: Let people talk. It’s impossible to respond to every negative comment—there isn’t an infrastructure for it—and an empowered community should rise to your defense.
10.    (Truly) address the issues: Rather than simply respond to negative Tweets, comments, etc., address the issues that are driving the complaints.
11.    Fuel longevity: You’re only as good as your last action. Set yourself up for longevity in the social media sphere.
12.    You don’t have to be social to be social: The water-cooler effect has always existed, but social media has amplified it. Consider ways you can increase your brand’s social currency via media that might not be inherently social—how can you create a message that will drive people to socialize around it?

“While the fast-moving social media sphere is still in its infancy, it’s getting increasingly crowded and, as a result, increasingly confusing,” says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT. “It’s humbling—the Twittersphere delivers new headlines to digest seemingly every nanosecond. But it’s exciting at the same time. Whether today’s social media darlings will thrive or go the way of Friendster doesn’t matter as much as how this media platform—which is clearly here to stay—is changing consumer attitudes and behavior and how it should drive brand behavior.”

The “Social Media Checklist” is available at http://www.slideshare.net/jwtintelligence/social-media-checklist-june-2010

About JWT

JWT is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals.

JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues its dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to developing award-winning branded content for brands such as Freixenet, Ford and HSBC.

JWT’s pioneering spirit enables the agency to forge deep relationships with clients including Bayer, Cadbury, Diageo, DTC, Ford, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nokia, Rolex, Royal Caribbean, Schick, Shell, Unilever, Vodafone and many others. JWT’s parent company is WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY).

Contact: Erin Donahue / Department of Communications / 212.210.7595

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