Jon DiPietro’s recent post entitled How Not to Suck at Social Media on Domesticatingit.com outlines various ways to ensure that your social media presence delivers the best that your brand can muster to your customers, instead of falling into the morass of terminal overpromise and underdelivery which marks an uncomfortable number of social network business pages. DiPietro sums up his basic tenets in ten morsels which should be taken to heart by all online marketers. Here are some of the highlights:
- Most business social network pages are filled with exhortations about how wonderful the company’s products and services are, when the bottom line is that your social media followers are really fundamentally uninterested in that information. They want to know what your brand can do for them, and that therefore should be the basis of the relationship that you are trying to trigger. If you can provide valuable information on how they can improve some aspect of their lives through your brand, then you will be truly engaging them… a far cry from lists of specifications, features and other somnolent data.
- You must present information in a way that draws your followers into your story, and proceeds to engage them through their absorption of your narrative. There is no option but to make 100% of your content absolutely superlative, demonstrating to your customer base that there is more to your company than a purely mercantile business as you are one that is active and participatory in the causes, values, ethics and standards that interest them.
- When you’re writing your story, you have to resist the temptation to start at the Stone Age and work your way meticulously to the present day. A social media presence is not a diary or a journal, it’s a place to engage your customers by providing valuable information in a way that makes it easy for them to consume it quickly while getting the maximum benefit from it. If you’re too long-winded you risk alienating that audience as they have allotted a very limited amount of time to finding out about your brand and you certainly don’t want to overstay your welcome.
- A basic prerequisite of having a bank account is that you have to deposit money into it in order to withdraw it. Social media works in exactly the same way except that the currency is not legal tender but trust. It is imperative for a brand to establish a vast fund of trust among its followers and the communities in which it participates. It is then and only then that the business can proceed to leverage that trust to achieve its sales goals. Otherwise, all you’re doing is writing social media checks that will bounce all over cyberspace.
- This may seem like complete sacrilege to ol skool marketers accustomed to buying ad media and then plunking whatever they wanted on it, but it is not possible to control your message in any way in your company’s social media presences. The very act of attempting to maintain control is wholly counterproductive as it will backfire on your brand and you will be tagged by your social network community as being manipulative, shady, or worse. You have to consider yourself as a participant in the larger conversation about your brand and you must accept that you cannot shape the chatter, only be a part of it.
- Many online marketers fail to grasp the basic truth that social media is not a selling medium per se, but only a channel to that end. A company’s social network presence should function to direct customers to a specific landing page that is an organic extension of the style and content found on the social media pages. Simply sending your social network followers to your website’s main entry index.html page is tantamount to leading them to a dead end.
These may seem like fairly common sense points but it only takes a bit of surfing around to major brand social media pages to see how many of them are getting a failing grade.
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