A mantra for social: ‘be found, be seen, be talked about’

The pace of technological change is happening faster than at any time in our history, and life as a marketer is more challenging than at any time in the past. Now that digital is firmly a core part of marketing strategies, where do you start, considering the options are seemingly endless? 

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When creating our social media strategy at Diageo we have a simple mantra – be found, be seen, be talked about. 

Increasingly, the consumer’s journey to your brand starts with the search bar. We have more than 1.6 billion Google searches every year for our brands, drinks and recipes. We face the same challenge as any other brand – showing
up in the best possible way when consumers knock on our door. 

When they do find you, it is important that consumers first get what they need, and second, can engage with your content at whatever level they choose. 

Diageo has 871 million consumers over the legal drinking age interacting on Facebook, and 24 per cent of them claim to share all or most things. But if content does not connect with the consumer, they will simply screen it out. 

Getting content right for search is very important and to make it truly compelling, it needs to start with an insight. If a consumer is searching for how to make the perfect martini, there is no point serving content about a brand’s latest advertising campaign. 

Finding that we were getting a lot of searches of this ilk, we aimed to meet this customer need through the launch of thebar.com, which answers people’s questions about our drinks. Consumers can explore categories, learn about our various brands’ heritage and provenance, as well as the characteristics, tastes and recipe ideas for different occasions. The site has existed in North America for the past few years and has been hugely successful, creating much consumer interest and enjoyment. 

We also know that the value of an enhanced experience is very important to people – put simply, if they are going out, they want to ensure they have a night to remember. To meet this desire and to help consumers explore our brands, we created the Definitive Drinking Guide, which is available on Tumblr and Pinterest. The guide suggests the top bars and drinks recipes as recommended by the finalists and judges of the World Class Bartender competition, the biggest mixology competition in the world. Helpful branded content, beautifully presented, easily searchable and a joy to consume and share is the aim of our social media interactions.

Another example of an innovative approach to creating content that is optimised for web search comes from Red Bull. It creates artistic videos, supported with high-quality content, about a variety of extreme sports. By doing this
it captures people’s interest in the latest news and footage of the most daring stunts. The regularly updated material is brand-defining in the search atmosphere, and engages with consumers by making the content hub their ‘go-to’ place.

In the same vein, online clothes retailer Asos has recently refreshed its site to put content at the forefront. Instead of the usual product listings, the main categories are filled with streams of rich content that is continually refreshed and, most importantly, appeals not just to its customers but search engine crawlers too.

Adding further complexity is the mobile screen. Now it’s not enough to provide easily searchable, engaging content that
feeds a trend – you need to make sure it’s available whenever and however the consumer wants it. This dissolves any ‘rules’ there may once have been and challenges us even further. 

The pace of change we are experiencing is exciting, and when the world feels like it’s spinning out of our control, what gives us a degree of comfort is that most marketers in most organisations are feeling the same sense of exhilarating turbulence. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Kathy Parker is senior vice-president of marketing innovation at Diageo

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