Issue: November/December 2011
Social Media Survival Guide: Rules of Engagement
Start with a goal for you social media campaign: better engagement with your audience. Here are four tips.
As with any marketing tactic, your social media planning should start with a single question: Why?
“The big problem with a lot of small- and medium-sized companies is they get infatuated with the disco lights of social media tools,” says Joe Pulizzi
of the Content Marketing Institute. “But they don’t necessarily have a goal.”
The word on the lips of every social media pro is engagement — developing a relationship, not a sales contract, between friends and followers.
“It’s called social media for a reason,” says Cleveland.com social media producer Alana Munro. “It’s a two-way street.”
And you have to be somebody your audience wants to know. “You have one opportunity to get someone to say, ‘[This is] worth coming back to,’ ” says Halko.
Here are four tips from our experts for effective engagement:
Social media pro Benjamin Bykowski of Falls Digital recently used Foursquare to check in at a local home improvement store and received an immediate coupon in return. “They’re actually paying attention,” he says. “[That kind of response] makes it seem like you’re a person, rather than a nameless, faceless corporation.”
Keep a balance.
Joe Pulizzi advises his clients to follow the 411 rule — of every six tweets, four are others’ content, one is yours, and one is a blatant sales message. “You can’t be the leading expert in your industry by only sharing your own content,” he says.
Make ’em feel something.
“Emotions create reactions,” says Jim Kukral. Kukral’s favorite example: Blendtec, a blender manufacturer, creates hilarious bits with the company’s CEO, who demonstrates the blenders’ power by grinding up everything from a football to an iPhone at willlitblend.com.
Put down the megaphone.
“The biggest problem I see with small businesses is their insistence on viewing social media as a broadcasting channel,” says John Heaney, brand director of Sparkbase. “At no point do they offer any value.” Pulizzi cites the words of author Jay Baer, social media consultant and author: “The difference between helping and selling is only two letters. But they’re two very important letters. Helping is the new selling.”
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