Social Media, Social Marketing and The New Rules of Engagement
Social Media Marketing is does not work the same as advertisements and marketing in the old days. It used to be you would set up a clever advertisement and try and get it in front of as many of the projected demographic as you could. The Rule was to have it seen by hundreds of thousands if not Millions to get a small percentage of them to become buyers. After all, a small percentage of a huge number is still a decent sized number. If you placed your message in front of One Million people you could expect a Hundred-Thousand of them to become customers so long as your ad was provocative, thought provoking and drove them to your product.
Fast forward to the turn of the century and you see many of us now bombarded every single day with too much ADVERTISEMENT-Clutter. We are hit with Ads on the radio, On TV, On The Internet, On Social Networking sites, now even in the movies you see commercials that were once only on our televisions. The rate of return has diminished because our tolerance level for ignoring the media has been heightened due to overexposure.
Today's Social Media Are About Engagement:
Social Media, sites like Twitter, Face Book, MySpace and Beebo as well as social bookmarking sites like Digg and Delicious.com provide us all with ways to connect with other people, share our thoughts, our likes, grievances and favorite sites with other like users that may have similar interests. Social media sites are powerful tools of engagement and yet many use it simply as another form of advertising. Many marketers and advertisers just don't get the true power of social media.
Online, word of mouth is all about value, great customer service and great products, but people also have to like you to "Spread the Word" and that takes real engagement.
New Rules of Engagement:
Don't Dictate to the World, Engage With it - meaning, get involved with people don't just post your advertisements or links to your blog, give them information they can use, advise, have a two way conversation and find out what makes them happy.
Re-Tweet More Than just compliments about you - If you find someone posts something that is helpful to you or you think maybe helpful to others re-tweet it. Don't just Re-Tweet things when they mention you. You'll get more followers if you are someone that posts interesting things versus only things about you, your company and your products.
Response Time is Critical - Don't just start a conversation and then not be a part of it! Social media is about interaction and engagement, make sure you are there to talk about the subject you brought up. Comment back when people comment your thoughts. It doesn't have to be all the time, but it is better for you to spend 15 minutes every few days verses be on one social media site for several hours One day and then be absent the rest of the month. This way if you someone asks something of you you can respond with a few hours or a few days verses a month or two.
Be Wary of What You Put Out And What You Allow Yourself to grasp - Remember that while it may feel like an intimate conversation, what you are saying is being broadcast to the entire world or at the very least your entire circle of friends. It takes thousands of tweets to create a reputation and only one to completely ruin it. Remember to be polite courteous and above all ignore the trolls, those that are distasteful, arrogant and out to make you mad just to see if they can. Just ignore them and they will move on to others.
Remember Every Post is An Extension of You, Your Website and Your Brand - posts like "Your breasts look juicier than the watermelon I just ate" will not reflect well on your company's image. And it just comes off as creepy anyway. Be respectful and you will command that same respect back at you. Compliment people on their successes, accomplishments and achievements instead of only shouting about your own and they will most likely do the same for you when you do shout out about yourself.
Top of Mind Means You Have To Be Consistent - You have to Tweet consistently, comment consistently, update your status consistently with engaging interactive thoughts and useful articles, videos etc. The average shelf life for a tweet or a status update is very short, but don;t let that fool you into thinking it isn't powerful. You simply have to stay involved. Make it a habit. In the old days it was about having your AD play over and over now it's being active online that plays a huge role in top of mind and brand awareness. Get into the habit of being present on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social site you choose and people will get into the habit of reading what you write.
Tweet Quality / Status Update Quality - The Quality of what you post is just as important than the frequency of your posts. Tips, advice and useful articles are always good, and helping people with helpful answers to their questions is always the fastest way to connect with someone online.
Repost And Re-Tweet Helpful or Humerous Content - You don't have to always rack your brains trying to be witty or helpful yourself when people are already posting similar items every day. Read and re-post or Re-Tweet what you feel may help your friends or what has already helped you
If Possible Use a Face Picture - A picture can familiarize other people with who they are talking to. Then when you see them at a real event it's as if you really are old friends.
Automation and Engagement Are the Exact Opposites - Nothing says I'm not really talking to you I'm just marketing, like an automated post. What's the point of asking a provocative question if you aren't really going to be involved in the discussion? Check back often enough to comment and respond to others when they comment and answer your questions and you will create much greater involvement and really learn to engage people online. This way they will be more receptive when you do mention your services or your product as they will view you more a s a friend than just an advertiser.
- Trent W. The Great Hip Hop Blog