TopRank’s marketing blog published a fundamental foundation to grow your social media platform responsibly. If you’re struggling to grasp what it’s all about, know first you’re not alone by any stretch, but know, too, that you can use this stuff to help you for a lot less money than the cost of a big honkin’ display ad in the yellow pages.
Here are a couple of each excerpted from the full list:
Best Practices Excerpt:
- “Give to get” – Successful social media marketing programs involve listening and participation. That participation centers around giving value before expecting anything in return. This is not “sales” as you know it. But companies can definitely increase sales as a result.
- Commit resources & time to be successful or you may very well fail. It’s important to forecast labor hours, who, what, when, how and where with the intention of succeeding, not just experimenting. If a social media effort is successful, scalability will be an even bigger issue if you don’t plan for it. Hiring a community manager for example, may not be justified when a social media monitoring program is started or with a new company, but a job req and understanding of the role should be ready in case it’s called for.
Worst Practices Excerpt:
- Being fake in any way isn’t good for anyone on the social web. Early on, companies like Walmart and Sony (via their PR firms) tried to fake their way into making consumers believe sites like the Sony PSP blog or the Walmarting Across America blog were authored by impartial brand evangelists, when it wasn’t that at all. Both Sony and Walmart have learned from those mistakes and now have social media sites that follow many of the best practices above. Some say failure with social media is a sort of “rite of passage”.
- Being pushy or overtly salesy in messaging and communications and expecting traditional marketing outcomes are common behaviors by companies that see social media communities simply as content distribution channels for existing marketing programs. Overt commercial messages, especially sales solicitations are outright tabu in most social communties. A social environment amongst “friends” and likeminded individuals isn’t going to accept interruptive messaging. Think of barging into a conversation at a party trying to sell something to people who are talking about their favorite movies and sharing baby pictures – and the disdain that behavior would encourage. Provide the kind of information that facilitates choices that lead to sales, and you’ll go a lot further.
It’s an awfully good list. One colleague thought it might be a bit rudimentary. I don’t see that as a bad thing. Practice the fundamentals. You’ll learn what to learn next along the way.