Social Media Marketing Do’s & Don’t’s: Part 1

Hopping on the Social Media Marketing bandwagon? You’re not alone. Seems user-generated content and social media marketing are becoming as ubiquitous as the tacky inflatable snowmen with which my neighbors continue to pollute their yards.

The trick, my little sugarplums, isn’t to simply embrace the trend… but to master it.

Or in your case, not to make an ass of yourself the first time out of the gate! [sigh]

Lucky for you, I’m feeling rather generous today! And so, The Genius shall share her personal list of Social Media “Do’s and Don’t’s”—with the full knowledge that you’ll probably screw your program up anyway.

[sigh] It isn’t easy being so brilliant and flawless. But it’s my cross to bear.

Social Media Marketing “DO’s”:
1. For crap’s sake, please DO establish clear business objectives for your social media marketing efforts—before you even think about launching a campaign of any kind.

Seriously: If I see one more blog, podcast, or pointless viral marketing campaign launch with no clear strategy other than to satisfy the overgrown ego of some bonehead executive [who got their MBA when dinosaurs still roamed the earth]… well, I just might barf!

2. DO establish your metrics—yes, before you launch.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure, right, people? It’s Marketing 101.

Social media is no exception to this rule.

Now, I know that “goals” and “metrics” seem tedious and about as sexy as plumber’s crack, but trust me: it’s your only hope of having something more meaningful to say the next time your boss asks how the social media campaign is doing than, “Uh…”

[Side note: Why is it that so many businesses treat their marketing strategy like a leisurely drive through the country?

“No, we don’t have a map or specific destination in mind… but we’ll know we’re good when we get there…. Oh wait… I think we’re lost… and we’re running out of gas! Shit… I told you we should have asked for directions!!!!”

Don’t be stupid. And don’t be a wimp. ROI isn’t the only meaningful business metric, so don’t become a slave to it. Consider what’s most relevant, metric-wise to your company’s business objectives. For a cheat sheet on some of the best metrics for SMM, check this out.

3. DO your homework. (And I don’t mean “Do do your homework”, because that would be very messy.)
Social media isn’t rocket science, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill tool for broadcasting product features and benefits either. You’ve taken a great first step by reading this blog post; now go read a few others. This basic primer by one of my favorite marketing bloggers, CK, is another great place to start. If all else fails, I’m sure there’s a copy of Social Media for Dummies out there somewhere just waiting for a home.

Side note: If you’re a control-freak and can’t get jiggy with the idea of your marketing messages becoming a two-way communication, perhaps you’d be better off investing your correspondence-course education on something more suitable—like annoying pop-up ads or a nice, cheesy infomercial.

3. DO get to know the community before you ask something of them.
Like it or not, the same rules apply here as in the larger game of life, only amplified. Read: you can’t show up to a new school/office/neighborhood and immediately ask people for stuff. You’ve got to give a little first. Get to know them. Maybe even let them get to know you.

To do this well, you’ll need to a) actually spend some time observing and [gasp!] interacting with the communities that are relevant to your market segment(s).

I.e., What conversations are taking place? And who is shaping/influencing those conversations (and how)?

I know it may sound creepy, but you’ve got to do a little lurking before you barge in with your brilliant addition to the conversation. Get to know the topics, the people, and the tone of the dialogue. Remember the key word here is “ENGAGEMENT”—not broadcasting.

4. DO take an integrated approach to your social media efforts—particularly with respect to SEO.
Yes, yes, I know I’ve been bashing SEO since before the dawn of man… but the truth is, an integrated approach to search and social media makes a lot more sense than throwing either one under a bus. Social media marketing (and blogging in particular) can have a dramatic impact on organic search—assuming, of course, that you’re clever enough to pepper your blog with relevant keywords and phrases, and to keep the content fresh and the incoming links/comments/trackbacks a-flowing.

DUH!

5. DO start small and “fail fast”.

The skeptics who poo-poo social media as an effective marketing tool do so because, well… the vast majority of social media campaigns are pretty big failures. After all, there’s a learning curve. Plus… few of the folks that have come before you were blessed with the marvelous wisdom I’ve bestowed on you here!

The question is, will you follow in their mediocre footsteps? Or blow them away with your strategic, iterative, and flexible approach that treads carefully [and cheaply] into new territory, all the while honing your strategy on-the-fly.

Ooh, that’s so Web 2.0!

Tune in next week for “Part 2: The DONTs.”

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2 Responses

  1. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Idolatrously!

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