Jul 29, 2011

Social Media Strategy I Think Everyone Can Agree To

A friend of mine tweeted a link to an article today called Five Truths about Social Media Marketing. The article claims the five truths are:
1. Size Matters
2. The Medium is the Message
3. Social Media Gurus Really Do Exist
4. Social Media is New Media
5. Social media can be effectively outsourced to a PR firm

The article was a response to another article called Five Lies About Social Media Marketing. I swear I'm not making this up, here are the five lies according to the article:
1. Size Matters
2. The Medium is the Message
3. Social Media Gurus Really Do Exist
4. Social Media is New Media
5. Social media can be effectively outsourced to a PR firm

My friend who tweeted the "5 Truths" article seemed to agree with it, while I sided more with the "5 Lies" article. Who's right? Well, it's my blog so obviously me. But seriously, neither are going to be truths or lies for every situation. You see my friend works for a PR firm and I do social media in house for a B2B eCommerce business and in the past did social media in house for a B2C liquor store franchise. All three have vastly different business goals, customers, and marketing needs. So all three are going to see success differently on social media and have different audiences.

I'm going to try to come up with some "truths" about social media I hope apply to everyone here. And by truths, I really mean opinions.

1. Set measurable goals for social media and track them.

I believe almost any goal you have for social media can be numerically numbered. Followers are good to track, but try being more creative. I personally like to track incoming traffic from social media to my sites and click through rates on shared content. If your focus isn't on cold hard numbers and more abstract concepts, like customer interaction or reputation management, try figuring out a way to quantify it and measure it. Track the number of interactions you have weekly or daily. You could also categorize the nature of interactions on a likert scale (1. very negative 2. negative 3. neutral 4. positive 5. very positive). If you're all about the bottom line, track sales that can be attributed to social media or estimate a value for the traffic brought in through social media.

2. Find Your Niche and Stick To It.

No one can be all things to everyone. There are plenty of people trying and failing on social media. If you're a sports reporter on twitter, talk about sports. If you're a fishing store, talk about fishing. If you're a political pundit, be obnoxious and talk out of your @$$. There's a lot of noise in social media. You don't need to stand out from the crowd. You need to avoid the crowd. Certain organizations just are not going to compete with brands like Nike, Google, or Coke on social media. It's better to focus your efforts on people who want to know more about your field and will find value in what you have to say. People will tolerate random thoughts or opinions from Justin Beiber of Charlie Sheen, they will not for a company. If you're measuring your efforts well, you'll start to see which types of messages tend to be more successful and which aren't.

3. Keep measuring.

Seriously, it's important.

I think if you follow these three tips you'll find some kind of success on social media. Set reasonable expectations and goals. You'll never be Lady Gaga, so don't use her or other celebrities and large brands techniques for your business, organization, or personal social media efforts.

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