9 must-remember guidelines to succeed with social media marketing

In training on professional usage of social media with Kluwer Formations today, I’ve been helping 9 people from different organisations get started with social media. Despite their different levels of experience, different skills and different needs, they all have one thing in common: They want to use social media to market a business, organisation or product – they want to find their clients, communicate with them and reinforce brand loyalty.

In a series of several blogs over the coming weeks, I will be giving tips for anyone getting started with social media for marketing: Lots of references based on different type tools, functionalities and issues. Enjoy!

 

MY FIRST POST = 9 BASICS TO KEEP IN MIND WHATEVER YOU DO TO MARKET VIA SOCIAL NETWORKS

 

1 – Know what you are trying to achieve before you get started

Despite all the hype around social media platforms, they are still only tools. Don’t get on the train unless you’ve got a good reason. And define your reason clearly you get started. Your goals will affect the choices you make in terms of tool and activity. Defining your goal is the first step to creating strategic action.

 

2 – Know where your customers are and meet them there

As I said in my article for the December issue of T+D Magazine for ASTD, if you set up shop in the middle of nowhere and expect your customers will accept a long painful walk into the middle of nowhere, you will soon learn it doesn’t work. Don’t choose your platform for what YOU like to use. Choose what THEY like to use:

  • Which tools are your customers already using?
  • Where are most people most active?
  • What seems to suit your activity best?

 

3 – Know that not everyone uses social media platforms in the same way, to the same extent

The engagement pyramid, as explained by @charleneli in “Open Leadership” shows the 5 different types of social media user. The % of people acting in these ways diminishes as the list advances (watchers are the highest percentage, curators the lowest):

  • Watchers – the majority of people active on social networks are not SO active. They just look at stuff, soaking it all in without saying or “doing” much. You won’t know what they are thinking or how they react. But they are still there and they ARE part of your customer base.
  • Sharers – these people actually put stuff out there themselves. When they see something interesting, they share it. From what they share, you can tell what they like, what they are interested in and what they want more of (or not). Very good intel. And of course, wouldn’t it be great if they shared YOUR stuff?
  • Commenters – the next group will comment on or “like” (rate) what they find on any given platform. They actually given an opinion on what other people share. You can see their reactions and use this information to improve your offer and find out who is interested.
  • Producers – these are people that actually create something themselves. In my opinion, this should be one of YOUR main activities if you are using social media to market. You should write blogs, make videos, take pictures etc… What these people produce is what the others share, comment on and watch. No producers, nothing to look at.
  • Curators – like the curators in a museum, the role of this person is to collect, organise and share different things and put them together in one place for the others to come and find. They make sense of what has been produced, in order to make it easily accessible for the others. A key role in community management and other online activities.

 

4 – (Given point 3…) Be ready for disappointment in the beginning

The vast majority of people on a social network platform do not produce, share or comment/rate. This means that much of the time, what you put out there will not create an obvious reaction. Keep in mind 2 things:

  • It takes time to get reactions. If you have 500 followers on Twitter, you might hear from 50 of them, from time to time, if you’re lucky. If you get 5000 hits on your blog a month, you may only get 5 or 10 comments or likes. The same is true for YouTube videos.
  • ..but that doesn’t mean you are not being read. Believe in the numbers. If you have followers and friends, what you are putting out there is getting seen. If you are confident that your 500 friends and followers are well targeted potential customers, keep sharing and keep producing.

 

5 – Tools differ, but the golden networking triangle remains the same

Whatever you do on social networking tools for marketing purposes, you will need to consider 3 main types of activity, otherwise known as “the golden triangle”. Suggested by Jan Vermeiren in his currently free to download and highly practical book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”, these 3 activity types will create a kind of snowball effect where the number of people you reach gets bigger, the number of reactions grows and the community continues to flourish over time:

  • Give things away. Share references. Not always your own content, but also other “on-brand” things you find on the web that might be interesting for your customers.
  • Ask for things. This can be a simple answer (a large piece of market research done via a poll), a request for expertise on a given topic or a fully crowd-sourced project development. Ask people to get involved and some of them will.
  • Thank people. From literally saying “thank you” is a start. Liking, commenting or sharing what you have seen is ever better. So is mentioning people. We are all in this together, so be nice to each other.

 

6 – Stay on brand. Always.

Your brand is the image you want to present of yourself, your product or service. Whatever you do on social media platforms, you have to reinforce that image. Think about it beforehand. What kind of style do you want to have? What do you want people to say about you? What do you represent? What are you the expert of? What are you offering? What can people expect from you?

 

7 – Consider a blended approach to what you put out there: 70/20/10

I know a man who tries to sell his products via Twitter. Every tweet says “Buy this or that product of mine”. It drives me crazy. My preferred approach comes from “The Twitter Book” by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein and I think it’s much better way to position yourself and your products and services without being too pushy:

  • 70% of your posting should be sharing other people’s stuff. If you are a hypnotist trying to sell MP3s to help people quit smoking, 70% of your tweets will be sharing resources you have found about smoking, health, fitness, cancer (whatever…), but not actually pushing your product. Your customers will understand you have an opinion on these things and you stay up-to-date and interested in what they are interested in.
  • 20% of your posting can be your own products and services. You have the right to let people know about what you have to offer and they will be interested and believe you, because of the other 70% of your activity.
  • 10% can be a little light playful personal stuff that shows the world you are not just a marketing machine out to get their money. People buy from people and your followers, friends and potential customers want to know about you too. Let them know from time-to-time what you are up to at the weekend, or how that traffic jam drove you crazy. The human touch is nice… And this 10% doesn’t kill what I just said about branding.

 

8 – Cross pollinate your posting and sharing

This doesn’t go against what was said in point 2. But most of the time your customers will be spread across different platforms, so your activity must be as well. If you have posted a blog-post (like this one) on WordPress, tweet it. If you think it’s OK to post on LinkedIn as well (more on in another post) update your status there as well, or put the link in a group you have created. If you find a relevant blog from someone else and your new post could add some value, add it as a comment. If you just added a video to YouTube and your post could be a nice follow up reference, mention it in the comments.

 

9 – If what you have to say is worth saying, saying it twice, three times, four times, five times…

Take a look at your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter homepage. What do you see? Depending on how many people you follow/friend/connect to and how often they update things, the answer will differ. But over time, the same thing happens: Stuff disappears!

On most social network platforms, there is a “half-life” phenomenon which means that what you post disappears from your audience’s timeline exponentially at a certain rate, depending how many people they follow and how often those people are posting things. Concretely, this means that what you post now will be gone from view later. So what must you do?

  • Firstly, think about what time of day you are most likely to be read. Just after lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a good time. People aren’t desperately steaming ahead at the start of the week and they aren’t doing highly productive work while their lunch goes down. A good time to be read.
  • Secondly, re-post new things several times over a given period. But don’t forget point 7.

 

That’s it for this post. I will be back with specific tips for LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to put these ideas into practice… Sign up to follow my blog and you won’t miss a thing ! (Look in the right-hand menu bar)

 

 

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Share, like or leave a comment. You know it’s worth it… J

 

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About Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

Posted on December 12, 2012, in Communication and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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  1. Pingback: 37 easy Twitter tips for new users to get started « dansteer

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