Search for social strategies on the internet and you will surely encounter five different authors with five different sets of tactics for an alleged, sure-fire success in the marketing channel.

While their approach to social marketing may prove successful, the best option can often be to look at what the big brands are doing and then tweak their strategy to suit your own business.

During Performance Marketing Insights: Europe, Jeremy Waite, who heads up EMEA digital strategy at SalesForce ExactTarget @MarketingCloud, discussed some essentials when planning your social marketing campaigns.

The Five Ws

Dell has streamlined its social strategy of late. The computer manufacturer used to have hundreds of pages of metrics that were dumped on the boardroom table, which nobody bothered to read.

These days the company uses a strategy known as the five ws, a concept that has proved so successful it has been mirrored by global heavyweights such as Starbucks, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft.

From a command centre in Austin, Dell will only track who, what, why, where and when as it bids to understand what customers do. These insights help it to send personalised messages at the right time and be respectful of when to speak and when not to customers.

The five ws are who is talking about Dell, what are they saying, why are they saying these things, where did those conversations take place and when did those conversations happen.

Waite explained that only the top marketers ask an additional two questions after the initial five. How did they achieve success – a way to review everything – and what were the outcomes?


A strategy that apparently worked for Waite on Facebook campaigns, including Rovio and Zynga. The numbers represent 60% of the clients time being spent on media, 30% on creative and 10% on strategy.

Although social technologies and marketing techniques have moved on, Waite still sees the same split working well in modern campaigns. If you have nowhere to start from, he advises combining this with the five ws.

“If you look at the 30% creative, you build something cool because you have done the five ws. We know exactly what the audience wants and when they want it,” Waite said. “So we will build something on the right channel where they are.”

“We’ll spend 60% of our money on media. All the social networks are paid, obviously. Facebook, Twitter, they are all paid networks. We’ll split that 10% strategy, so we have 5% at the beginning for the insights and tools, then we’ll put 5% at the end to measure.”

It also works with teams to split timing resources. For example, if you have 40 hours a week, where do you spend 60%? Where do you spend 30% and 10%?

Brand relationship

Everything marketers talk about is in the head and heart of consumers, a statement that Google is a firm believer in. Larry Page is said to recruit senior leadership only because they have a background in both neuroscience and computer science.

The customer relationship model describes a person’s journey from having little or no awareness of a brand to becoming a fully fledged advocate. Aim for the pinnacle because even if you are the most expensive, people are still going to buy your products.

Social is one of the few channels where it is possible to build a relationship up to loyalty beyond reason, going from being aware to curious to affectionate to being fanatically protective of a brand.

To reach these levels you need to create awareness, community building, tailored community engagement and advocate influencer programmes, such as one-to-one interactions.

You can see the full customer-brand relationship model below with brand examples at each stage of loyalty.