Tag Archives: facebook

Putting the “Social” back into “Social Media”

So social media is about being social—no surprise there, right?

Wrong if you are hanging out in this “social media space” not knowing what to do and simply maintaining a one-way Twitter or Facebook account.

Social media is as much about being proactive as being reactive.

In regard to Twitter, the key to maintaining a successful account people want to follow and engage with is engaging first.

Let’s take a look at an account I managed for the past six months.

(The account will remain unnamed.)

We began with 0 followers and are up to 3,400 in 180 days. The key to this account is engaging with followers by creating a discussion, answering those who ask questions, addressing those who send feedback, and thanking those who post images…and doing everything in between.

Being a consumer business, it would be very easy to put Twitter on auto-pilot and blast promotions and focus on products…but that was not the strategy. And that would not yield the results of having 3,400 people actively follow the account.

The social media strategy (and that is why you need a social media strategy) included building brand awareness and engaging with Guests through their social media channels of choice (Facebook, Twitter and MySpace). Twitter, being an intimate source of communication, was focused on managing the brand’s online reputation, creating brand visibility and responding to feedback. The consumers of the brand have a natural inclination to share ideas, images, stories and information and want a chance to “get something special” such as free products.

To get the dialogue started and a “buzz” going about the brand, engaging questions were posted on the account to evoke responses. A simple question, that was relevant to all consumers of the brand, was posed and yielded over 200 responses. The account also hosted contests for a chance to win free products and co-sponsored scavenger hunts with other Twitter accounts to create a longer period of engagement for that particular tactic.

On the reactive side, when there were mentions of the brand within the space, a reactive approach was initiated by engaging with the user and referring to the mention. If it was an issue or concern, the required follow-up steps were taken. If it was a mention of how much the user loved the products, a simple “thanks” was sent.

The Facebook fan page also took a proactive/reactive approach by allowing all fans to comment on all posts, which included commenting to win contests (my personal favorite was a caption contest—over 130 entries and over 250 interactions, and the contest lasted for two hours). The fan page hosts images and slyly adds certain ideas to gauge feedback as to what consumers want from the brand. Oh and it gained over 35,000 fans in the same time frame.

So what did you learn from this (I hope)?

You must decide on a focus for your social media strategy:
1. What do you want to accomplish through your efforts?
2. And more importantly, what will your audience be receptive to in this space?

Once your strategy is developed, to be “social” you must:
• Engage by being proactive first and manage the space by being reactive
• Give your readers/followers/fans what they want and allow them to provide feedback
• Be interesting, fun and never end up mundane, creativity has no limit!

…and this is how to put the “social” back into “social media.”

Using Social Media vs. Using a Social Media Strategy

I was on a call the other day with Dan Green and he made a statement that made me laugh and then sigh. He said “you know, today everything thinks they are a social media expert.” What I thought was going to follow was a statement about how I was one of those people (this was our first interaction). Instead he continued, “…but you understand the strategy and that’s what it takes to be successful.” Over conversation shifted and we began discussing how students, marketers and even some self-proclaimed social media experts just don’t get it. They [social media expert impersonators] think you need to use all the social networks possible at one time to blast your message, need to constantly promote formally and in accordance with a corporate image, and/or to be the first to land in each space…and that is not necessarily the case.

Using social media means engaging with your target audience through thoughtful channels and sending the messages that make the most sense. To do this, you must decide which channels are going to be most effective and then use them effectively! And as I always say, you can’t just be in the space, you have to be active in the space and meaningful to be effective. This might mean that your company will not benefit from a Facebook page as much as it will from a Twitter page…so you shift your priorities and focus. Or maybe the messages you send to your Twitter audience are different than those you send through MySpace.

A question that I constantly encounter is “How can I use Facebook [or insert another social media outlet]?”. The question I would rather hear is “How can I use social media for MY business?” and that is where I can step in and know this client is looking for a strategy and not just implementing tactics without guidance.

Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes you just have to jump into a space, test the waters and make a splash. Then you have to evaluate the splash and see where it went, how quickly it rippled and how quickly it died (if it does) then revisit and craft the strategy. What I love about social media is that it is constantly changing and maybe what worked six months ago isn’t working today and marketing efforts need to be shifted. Or maybe a new angle has come about and the company can benefit from the use of a new channel. Nothing is set in stone.

There is always…. something creative coming down the pipes and endless opportunities.

See you later, MySpace

Working with new clients to create social media campaigns starts with the question, “What is your goal?” and leads to “Which outlets are going to be most effective and which are secondary?”

A goal of creating awareness in the social space means you need to determine the intended audience and decide where they are spending their time. Are they on Facebook? And are they ACTIVE on Facebook? The answer to both is probably yes due to the interactive appeal of Facebook and the pushing of messages through the newsfeed and availability of interesting applications.

Are they on MySpace? Are they ACTIVE on MySpace? The answer to the former is probably yes and most likely the latter will yield a no.

Why is this?

My thought is that MySpace was the first big social media networking space that paved the way for Facebook to make a splash. Since Facebook was only offered to students when it was introduced, others who wanted to adopt this activity opted for MySpace feeling it was the only option–therefore profiles were created and MySpace kept it presence.

After Facebook opened its doors to everyone, and MySpace was purchased by Newscorp in 2005, the market shifted and everyone was hanging out on Facebook abandoning their MySpace presence. It did take a bit for people to adopt and embrace Facebook if they did not join in college because the thought was “that is just for college kids, right?”

But now, MySpace is commercialized with ads inundating your login and welcome screen. Businesses create MySpace pages that become second Web sites with high-quality graphics and backgrounds. The messages are interrupted with noise from advertisers, crazy customization and spammers by the dozen.

So should companies abandon MySpace?

If companies are on MySpace, they should stay there and monitor the account and stay “somewhat active,” but their efforts will be better spent creating a blog, updating their Facebook pages or using my personal favorite, Twitter 🙂