Social Business Guide

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Social Business Guide

  1. 1. Decide on the mix of your identity. Strictly as a company representative, a 'real' person, or an interpolation between the two. It is important to determine the boundaries of your interactions online. In some cases, your account may be restricted to sending out updates on company products or activities, but not focused on customer care or troubleshooting. Larger companies may have a variety of accounts to deal with various communications functions. Smaller organizations will have to fit a range of activities into one account and optimize the mix of content to meet the PR, marketing or customer service objectives of that specific account and platform. In either case, you need to be explicitly aware of the content, functions and objectives of all of your social-media personas.
  2. 2. Be a good listener. All companies say they listen to their customers, you can display that your listening by responding non-generically. Some accounts work well simply as RSS or content feeds, without any interaction. In situations where you want to have a real communicating presence, be sure that you are truly communicating and not simulating communication or sending out generic responses to questions and comments that approximate replies that you have already prepared. It is much more powerful to communicate 'by hand' . It might seen inefficient to try to speak to 1000s of people one by one, but a) You should be selective and b) If you are selective , your communications will reach a wider audience and leave a positive impression with many more people than the one you are directly replying to. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  3. 3. Be patient. Your interaction via social media does not consist of driving traffic to a buy now page. Using social-media as a free advertising platform has been proven to not work as well as many had hoped. This has resulted in an understanding that the path to winning customers via this medium is a matter of significant effort, craft and patience. It takes time for messaging, identity and trust to develop. Relish the positive feedback you get and use it as inspiration to continue forward, but don't expect instant results. Settle in and develop a plan you can consistently implement, something that doesn't drain you and become drudgery after a few weeks. Develop a consistent habit of providing a positive experience and watch your numbers steadily rise. Please send comments and questions to: Socialbusiness@ciowhitepapers.com
  4. 4. Locate and take advantage of opportunities. Use real time monitoring and metrics to locate gaps and active communities. Use any of the wide variety of social network monitoring and search tools to see what is trending and moving on the web. Search on keywords in your area and locate gaps where more information, products or services are desired. Filling these areas with your own content and interactions will gain you the authority and additional attention that leads to increased traffic.
  5. 5. Be flexible and agile. Social networks allow for both in terms of strategy, frequency, messaging and media. Alter your messaging from time to time and examine the changes in feedback, interest and sales. Use the inherent agility of social networks to your advantage. On these platforms, it is incredibly easy to alter, tune and modify campaigns and get response almost immediately. This means that the turn around between running a campaign and getting results is incredibly quick. It is essential that you take advantage of this power to rapidly optimize communications with your target audience. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  6. 6. Make use of collaborative tools. Collaborate with the community to meet its stated needs. Empower them and get free market research. Collaborative tools can not only be used to communicate with colleagues for work related purposes, it should be used to get in depth feedback from customers. Solicit feedback on product use, modifications and creative applications. Let this immediate link to your customers inform product development. Give them a voice in your company direction and let them know they have this voice. This will deepen their investment in your company and can help to nurture evangelism.
  7. 7. Display humility, this is not interruptive tell and sell marketing where you tower over the cowering customer, they can and many times will research your claims. Credit the consumer with the intelligence to research your claims and develop your communications under the assumption that he or she will do so. Online, seeking out reviews and explanation of product/industry related jargon is very easy to do. Attempts to win the quick sale via flash and sizzle will most likely backfire at the first sign of confirmed deception. Providing the potential customer with the knowledge resources that enable an informed decision will work in your favor.
  8. 8. While you should listen and empower customers by giving them a voice, don't let them run roughshod over your vision. As a business with a product or service designed to serve people in a particular area, it is assumed you've spent considerably more time researching the subject than they have. Therefore, it is important that your receptiveness doesn't turn into pandering and worse yet, product degradation as a result of trying to make everyone happy all of the time. Determine where you will draw the line between product/service integrity and consumer demands. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  9. 9. Learn to deal with negative feedback. Grow some skin, there will be plenty of critical comments about your product or approach. Learn what you can and move on, but don't take things too personally. As an individual on a social network, you are really putting yourself out there. Your picture is likely on your profile, and you may have added some personal information in order to appear more human and less like a company representative automaton. The risk is that you can have your feelings hurt by insensitive comments or by the fact that you've taken a more personal interest in the outcome of your online efforts. Engaging in social-media platforms means exposure to the occasional rude comment, and more than occasional negative but useful feedback. Make use of what you can and let the rest roll off you like water off the proverbial ducks back.
  10. 10. Think strategically. It's easy to get up on Twitter and talk about yourself, but what you really need is targets, time lines and a definition of your brand persona. You can't just go online, announce what it is that you do and occasionally product updates or links to related content. There should be a sense of composition to it, so that the target audience can be guided deeper into an understanding of what value you provide. Sequenced content is a good example. Releasing content that is divided into parts over a period of time works well to maintain interest. When this is done, there should be strictly defined objectives for response, duration of campaign and results so that you can later make corrections and improvements. It is said that social-media is not a campaign, but a process. It would be better to say that campaigns are a part of the social-media process.
  11. 11. Experiment and split test message types, media, platforms and audiences. Social networks make this very easy and the response time is lightning quick. To start, keep a simple spreadsheet and keep tabs on how a given message type works for you on a given network. Expand the table into a matrix and examine how certain message types have more effect on certain networks. If you take a more systematic and analytical approach to this, you'll be able to optimize much faster and see quicker yields on your efforts. This is long term knowledge because with a small amount of additional thinking you'll be able to abstract out significant matches between content/messaging type and correlating protocol.
  12. 12. Give before you expect to receive, this is a basic benchmark that people use to distinguish between valid conversations and spam Online, giving does not mean sending out a link to a discounted product, it means providing something of real value for free. People scan websites and their content quickly out of necessity because there is just so much of it. Valuable content breaks through the filters that most web surfers have in place and wins gratitude that can lead to loyalty. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  13. 13. Add Value to a social network- A valuable site gains a larger audience, one that you will have access to. People go to social networks in order to talk with people about mutual interests. If you help to provide the content that they are seeking, they will return to that network and you will have access to them via that community while they are in a mindset that is receptive to what you are offering.
  14. 14. Further to the point above, only add value in the terms that it relates you your interests. There is no point in bringing in traffic related to apples when you need people who are into oranges. Don't bother trying to piggy back on the latest Hollywood or political scandal just to sell your widgets. This is a guaranteed way to cheapen your brand. There are occasions where events in the larger world may intersect with the scope of what you offer, but reaching too far on this front will only alienate people.
  15. 15. Be specific about how to allocate your time and which relationships to build. There's a limit to how many people you can keep in mind. One of the first things you should do, before you even open any social media accounts, is to determine the kind of people you'd like to approach and broadcast to. There is no point in joining a giant network populated with people who have no interest in your offerings or industry. Once you've located where people of a like mind congregate, you can then approach them with a strategy. Find the people who have the greatest influence and work to get your content in front of them.
  16. 16. Understand the Community- know how they talk to each other, which kind of promotional behavior is accepted and which isn't. Some communities are OK with more blatant promotion while others take a negative view on such activities. It is important to read their community guidelines and be certain that your hard earned status within that group will not suddenly vanish due to a terms of service violation. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  17. 17. Know when to back out of a social network. Some networks may not pay off for you, even though everyone is talking about it. Set up your own criteria for value. Pay less attention to how popular or trending a social network, technology or application is and more attention to the proximity of the community of a network to your area of focus. Just because a social network is popular, does not mean it will meet your business needs. You may want to report that you have a Twitter account to display that you are relevant, but keep in mind that most of your productive online work may eventually be done on a smaller site.
  18. 18. Understand that there are many ways to approach social media. You can be more like a news page, a personality, an FAQ, a troubleshooting hotline or a combination of these. Define a mix that matches your goals. Dell is a perfect example of this. They have Twitter accounts for product promotions, new technology news and one for each type of product or service. Obviously, larger companies will have the resources to carry this out, but even smaller companies can create two or three accounts that are dedicated to a specific purpose.
  19. 19. Be helpful, this is the single best way to self promote online, and you won't have to say 'Me', 'We' or 'I' even once. Offline, you'll find that people who have a high degree of expertise are very enthusiastic about helping people and sharing knowledge. That is, experts love to share their insight. Since trust and authority are important online, experts tend to have a great deal of influence. Emulate their behavior and provide assistance for free. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  20. 20. Work smart by using social media tools: You can use tools like HootSuite and Google Alerts to set up quite a sophisticated Internet listening program at almost no cost. More importantly, you'll be educating yourself on what you should expect from paid tools. As social-media marketing and promotion becomes more complex and relied upon as a business tool, many companies will start to seek services and software that can more efficiently and measurably provide social-media campaigning. Using tools that are freely available to do your own measurements and metrics now will enable you to understand, shop for and utilize the enhanced feature sets they provide.
  21. 21. Be interesting. Provide consistent value or interest and people will come back. While you may have a great deal of passion for and interest in your product, your target audience will have to be led to share your enthusiasm. Providing a constant stream of interesting content and interaction is a great way to do this. To start, address their needs rather than your strengths.
  22. 22. Keep your profile and status up to date. If you come to the conclusion that your participation on a given social network does not yield results, cancel the account rather than keep it inactive. An inactive account can make your company or organization appear as though it's gone out of business. This is particularly true on platforms that focus on real time communication, such as Twitter.
  23. 23. Choose a user name that represents the role of your specific account and persona. If your role is as a friendly customer outreach, use your real name and in the bio, put in your position and the roles associated with the account. Otherwise, if it is strictly a broadcast channel, it may be better to title the account as companyname_info or something similar. This makes it clear to the friend or follower what they can expect and will lead to less disappointment from having comments and questions unanswered. Also, if you are maintaining several accounts with particular roles on a given platform, make sure they are connected to each other so that visitors can easily have particular needs met.
  24. 24. Use services that will integrate all your social media applications together. FaceBook can link with Twitter for example so that time on one site is equal to time on both. Make sure that your blog, Facebook, Twitter and other social- media accounts share links and streams. This way your presence is constantly and consistently available across platforms. In addition, as other companies and users pick up this practice, mention of you on a given site will not only be shared on one site, but across all blogs and platforms which have those widgets installed. This will significantly expand your reach. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  25. 25. Customize your account pages to point to resources. Don't start promoting your social-media media presence unless there is a unique reason for someone to visit your profile. Content tailored to the environment of the platform is one essential, the other is for people arriving at your company via a social network to be pointed to resources at your site. Make it easy for people to learn more about you.
  26. 26. Watch out for new entrants, but don't spend all of your time joining them. It is essential to stay abreast of new developments in social- media and to keep track of which sites are coming up and becoming popular. Because there are so many though, make sure to be more selective in joining a site and evaluate it for either content or the community is serves. If one of these criteria are met, consider joining. The main danger is in spending too much time test driving social networks and not enough time using them.
  27. 27. If you join many social media sites, use a tool like Ping.fm Even with the strictest criteria applied, you are still likely to join more sites than you can manually and regularly post to. When you finally reach that threshold, simply register with a site that can send out a message to a group of platforms. In addition to saving you time, this will also teach you something about how to format a message to fit into a variety of networks while at the same time keeping the main thrust of the communications strategy.
  28. 28. Don’t forget other Media like video and webcasts, it's not all about Twitter. Today it is Twitter, tomorrow it may be something else. Beyond that, make sure you are also differentiating between types of media. That is, video, text, audio, gaming and flash all have their own unique qualities and metrics for optimization. Make sure you address these when creating campaigns for them. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  29. 29. Don’t overdo widgets and applications. Create well-focused page. If you want people's attention, you have to know how and where to focus it. It might look cool to have a page with every conceivable widget on it, but such a layout fails to tell the visitor what to do or where to go. There are times and places for given applications or tools and it is important to be judicious in using them. Anything beyond the main content needs to be evaluated for its potential as a distraction and weighed against the benefit it provides in terms of magnification. In general, focusing a visitors attention and magnification are commonly at odds, so choose the role of a given page and enhance it accordingly.
  30. 30. Test advertising with the social media site’s ad network for yourself, don't just take another person's opinion as fact. Many social networks have their own advertising platform. Make use of reviews from others who have used them. Keep in mind, however, that just because a network does not work for one person, does not mean it won't work for you. Since they require a relatively small amount money to start, it's well worth a try.
  31. 31. Check and recheck your privacy settings. Make sure they conform to the objective of your account. Make sure the scope of your visibility matches the role of your account. Different roles will require different privacy settings. A broadcasting type of account shouldn't really have much personal information and the profile can be visible to all with links and resources replacing private data.
  32. 32. Consider creating more than one account to fulfill different events such as promotion, customer service, blog posts and discounts. As mentioned before, creating different accounts for different roles can be very productive. You can also have different and temporary accounts for specific events. This allows you to measure response specific to an event or promotion as well as create a more targeted audience that is more suited to more technical or detailed content, particularly useful when retaining customers, as opposed to acquiring them.
  33. 33. Have a lot of patience. Your profile needs time to become recognized. Your name and resources will show up more consistently over time as your interactions and participation continues. To speed things up seek out people in the same field and cross promote each other. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  34. 34. Expand your network by connecting with people who are really your peers not people you wish were your peers. While it would be great to have Guy Kawasaki or John Dvorak pick up and promote some of your content via their networks, and it might even happen, this isn't a sustainable strategy. What is more scalable and possible to maintain is to approach similar people who have similar sized networks. They are much more likely to friend or follow you back, respond to direct messages and re-broadcast your content.
  35. 35. Link your social media presences with each other. This way people can leave your site, but not your presence. Make sure profiles for all of your accounts link to locations on your other social network accounts that share a similar message but also provide an experience unique to that platform.
  36. 36. Your company site should reflect your participation in social networks. Make this both apparent and easily accessible. Not only should site visitors be able to access your presence on other sites, the experience on each site should be unique to that site and its method of communication. In addition, widgets or applications that pipe data from those platforms to your main site should also be in place.
  37. 37. Promote unto others as you would have them promote unto you. This simple rule will yield great results. While practicing it, you'll be able to identify those that have a similar philosophy and create a mutually beneficial association with them.
  38. 38. If you use online tools to facilitate introductions, people will come back. While the focus of your social networks will probably be spent promoting your own identity, don't be afraid to help others meet each other. Facilitating introductions is a valuable service and leads to repeat visits. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  39. 39. Monitor your competitors and run metrics on them to see which of their strategies succeed. This will save you a great deal of time in trying to determine which strategies, tactics and platforms will work best for you. You will also be able to determine areas where they are having success but are not taking full advantage of positive response.
  40. 40. Use social media as a broadcast channel. There is a lot of emphasis on social media engagement and conversations. Don't forget, however, that you don't always have to run accounts that act like telephones. In many cases, simply sending out messages in one direction can provide value to visitors, followers and friends. If for example, an account is labeled 'Today's specials', anyone following or visiting such an account isn't expecting a conversation and won't be upset by not getting one.
  41. 41. Explore the localization abilities of social media. Your product or service may be ideally suited to mobile and augmented reality solutions. Keep them in mind going forward. Development in mobile is happening concurrently along with social platforms. This means that you need to be aware that many of your audience members will be viewing your content from their mobile device. Depending on your product or service, this may represent a big opportunity for you. It may also motivate you to create an application that provides information tying your product or service in with their location.
  42. 42. Hosted or aggregated conversations are a great way to obtain content that is engaging, valuable and free. You can significantly boost the amount of content on your site by adding a widget that contains a stream of content relevant to your primary focus. This will let visitors keep tabs on related news and conversations without leaving your profile page or site.
  43. 43. Let your audience know when someone in the community has provided inspiring feedback. Illustrate the value of their participation. The more you acknowledge the value of customer feedback, the more you will receive. Rather than adding an intrusive pop-up or blatant request, start conversations of interest to the visitor that can lead to discussions of your product, service or industry. These conversations are best when they are spontaneous and unsolicited. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  44. 44. Don't ignore dissatisfied customers online. While it is not possible to address every single complaint via social media, it is important to address concerns that appear in these forums which are potentially damaging. Be sure to search for comments on your products or brands and publicly address dangerous concerns in a fair and complete manner. Learn to distinguish between those voices that can cause significant magnification of negative sentiment from those that are idly nagging.
  45. 45. Don't forget that social networks are a fantastic research tool. The way you attract and win loyalty is by providing useful content to those who are searching for it. Don't forget to play the role of the searcher on a regular basis. This helps inform you on how your customers are looking for information. It also provides you an opportunity to stay up to date with what is happening in your industry.
  46. 46. Use social media to meet people offline, and to enable your audience to communicate with each other. Being able to establish a community of users around your product or service is a great way to maintain loyalty to a brand. Like a social network, people go there for the community as much as the content,service or product. If, through events, meet-ups or even web casts can encourage them to meet in person around the shared interest in your service or industry, their connection with you will be that much deeper. Internet tools make this much easier to achieve and something that in many cases is something that customers will run with on their own once given an initial incentive.
  47. 47. Keep the short attention span of site visitors in mind. People scan first and read second. Make sure that your copy and graphics cut right to the chase. Don't wait until to second paragraph or after the fold to make your point. People may spend hours online, but when it comes to any given site, they are in a hurry. You only have a few blinks before the user opens up or switches to another tab. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  48. 48. Develop a clearly defined strategy and rules of social media engagement for anyone representing you or your organization online. This point has already been driven home by several well known cases of a customer representative embarrassing his company. Such incidences can easily be prevented by having a strict engagement protocol that staff must adhere to. In addition, make sure management or yourself read through the content on a regular basis to make sure that there isn't too much deviance from the rules. Finally, ensure that people working for you are aware of the central thrust of all communications strategies so that they can have autonomy without risk of creating an incident.
  49. 49. It is OK to have a sales, bonuses and discounts oriented account, if that's what it is described and promoted as. Doing so clearly from the outset means that you may have fewer friends or followers, but they will be a reliable group to test ideas on. Creating such focused accounts make for great data gathering because the account, fan page or other membership name already pre-qualifies the visitor. This means that interaction data that they provide is of a much higher quality than the information coming from a more general audience.
  50. 50. Don't get overwhelmed by the incoming data, choose strategically from it to measure performance. More interaction, more accounts and more user content soon means an overabundance of data. This is why, as your presence evolves, you need to keep track of the sources, in terms of people and platforms, of the most useful feedback. This will enable you to get a brief and useful overview when time does not permit for a more in-depth analysis. Eventually, however, you may conclude that the amount of information requires an analytics solution. When this happens, you'll now have a set of benchmarks to bring into your new platform.
  51. 51. Your competitors customer's are right there online for you to see and befriend. Talk to them. Make it a point to have an extended conversation with someone who is enthusiastic about your field. It doesn't have to be about your product of service at all, as long as you are discussing the industry of field of interest, anyone else reading or following your dialog will be able to see your competence on display. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  52. 52. Piggy back on current trends to the extent that they relate to you. Social media search tools make it extremely easy to find ongoing conversations that you can join in on. The fact that a dialog is already underway means that it will likely already have a participating audience. Not only will joining in benefit you, it will benefit others involved as well and lead to other online meeting points where promotions can valuable content can be distributed.
  53. 53. Study and learn about suppliers via Social Media, including research on customer satisfaction. Learn about your suppliers via their social network presence and examine how they handle issues, feature requests and sales. This will provide insight into what doing business with them will be like. Companies that avoid social-media altogether should be necessarily be disqualified, but organizations making a half-hearted attempt may warrant suspicion.
  54. 54. Let the market know what you're shopping for. You will get offers from social media savvy companies. Solicit opinions on any business purchases you are considering. Doing so may provide you with plenty of reviews, advice and even discount offers. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  55. 55. A publicly resolved issue is good PR. Try to make live issue resolution an ongoing part of your social- media presence. This is a great way to win the confidence of potential customers because they are getting a first hand view of your business as it actually operates.
  56. 56. Social-media is real, don't approach it like a bubble. How you behave and interact today will be visible from now on. Think twice, speak once Reckless words are difficult to retract online. In a matter of seconds something careless can be copied, pasted and re-sent millions of times before you have a chance to explain yourself. Social-media benefits far outweigh these risks, but the risks still need to be kept in mind.
  57. 57. The old adage, perception is reality may no longer be true. Perceptions that others might like to provide you with are easily verified or debunked online. The same is true for your claims. The internet is a great equalizer. At long last, fact has a chance to catch up with lies long before the latter has made it halfway around the world. For this reason, honesty may come back in vogue.
  58. 58. On a given site, you have an identity as part of the ecosystem or village of that URL, you can go reckless into the crowd, or go in with a clear strategy as to how and what you will communicate. While it is always a good idea to get the vibe of a particular community, make sure that you have a defined plan before participating. Some platforms have more strict roles in their eco- systems than others and in such cases it is important for you to decide what kind of role you'd like to play. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  59. 59. Social media is your own private and distributed broadcast channel, value it as such. Be sure to recognize your internet presence distinctly as a broadcasting platform, separate from its role as a conversation tool. When viewed this way, you should think in terms of time of day, programming and audience share, much as you would with traditional media. The model is changing but it is not abandoning old media altogether.
  60. 60. Don't aimlessly 'hang out' on Social Media sites, Your activity should have a beginning, middle, end and objective. This is essential to meeting goals and maintaining focus. Without objectives, communications strategies and an awareness of audience habits, you are very likely going to spend a lot of your time haphazardly bouncing around from site to site without any kind of clear vision. Months can go by in this way as you test hot new site of the week after another. Once you find the crowds that matter to you focus on finding ways to benefit them and as a consequence, yourself.
  61. 61. Provide value. The more value you provide, the more people stick around. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  62. 62. Different communities require a different approach. This will become even more apparent as technological developments allow for specific sites to host applications that provide a functionality unique to the needs of the community. This evolution will eventually require unique communications strategies for each kind or niche and platform and provide opportunities for those who can address this degree of specialization.
  63. 63. Don't over sophisticate your message. If you are selling 'Magic' weight loss products, it is rather unlikely that the sophisticated messaging potential of social-media will be of much assistance. Products like these rely more on ignorance than information. This is an extreme case, but if your focus is on lower price with comparable quality, the last thing you want to do is provide your audience with a PhD in your industry. In such a case, repetition of the core message along with persistent reminders of what entry-level consumers do not need is likely your best message strategy.
  64. 64. Social Media is a subset of a rapidly evolving Internet, don't think you can 'master' it. Social networks are in a constant state of flux, adaptation and evolution. There are no cut and dry rules, only guidelines. At any given time, don't let successes lead you into the belief that you've got a permanent winning formula. There is certain to be changes that will alter the effectiveness of a given strategy. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  65. 65. The social web is not immune to Newtonian physics or the fundamentals of business. New science and technology always seems to inspire a primal belief in magic for the first few years of its adoption. Social-media is not immune from this phenomenon and it will take some years for the companies who display knowledge of the fundamentals shake out from among the rest. Keep this in mind when shopping for a social media solutions provider.
  66. 66. Strategies that work for one type of industry or product may not work for you. A perfect example of this are the well known social and internet media commentators. When they describe their own successes and tactics, they are speaking from the vantage point of already being well known and recognized. Most times, their notoriety was established through non social-media channels like magazines, news shows, conferences and previous work for large companies. You likely do not have this advantage, so make sure that you do not pursue tactics that are predicated on pre-existing fame.
  67. 67. The scale and speed of the Internet are not magic elixrs. You still need to provide value. On the Internet, garbage and spam can scale and broadcast as quickly as useful information. The power of the internet can be as destructive to your name as constructive. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  68. 68. Recognizing that you are a brand does not mean you have to spend big money on it. The often quoted sentiment that everyone is now a brand has led many to believe that they have to go out and spend big money on photo shoots, video production or web re-designs. Recognizing that you are a brand requires nothing more than that recognition. Unless you have a well designed and focused branding concept, you'd be better off worrying about the content and value that you provide. This will do far more for you than vanity pictures and over produced videos.
  69. 69. Don't get caught up on PR control whack-a-mole. Letting negative comments exist is a sign of transparency. Frantically responding to every negative comment creates an air of defensiveness and insecurity. Reading through such attempts at image control often leads readers to think 'I wonder what they are hiding?'. Rather that create this atmosphere monitor the conversation and only step in if grossly inaccurate comments are written. Besides, you may find at some point that your community has advocates willing to make your case for you.
  70. 70. Suckers are still being born every minute. All of this talk about transparency, useful information and the ability to review claims makes it seem like we've entered digital utopia. Don't be mistaken, the snake oil industry is still very much alive and well. Unsophisticated Internet users abound and many times unethical sales/promotion tactics will intersect your online experience. Rather than trying to police every instance of dishonesty, it is better to save time by acknowledging that this is a phenomenon that will never go away and remain as vigilant as you are to offline scams.
  71. 71. Education sells. A quality product and informed customer is a sustainable business. Particularly in a tight economy, customer retention is important. One way to do this is to provide a clear upgrade and learning path that demonstrates the need for and value of your products and services. Periodic newsletters, tweets and social network updates will help to keep you and your overall solution in mind.
  72. 72. Don't commit to a social media strategy that you can't follow through with. While it would be nice to speak to each and every follower, friend and visitor every time they've got something to say, you can't. You also can't maintain a presence on every network, nor can you realistically provide a daily newsletter that is of consistent high quality information. In fact, an overflow of average or mediocre content will only result in the recipient mentally tuning you out the minute they see your user name. The old adage 'Leave them wanting more' really applies here. Just because you can send to thousands every day doesn't mean you have to. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  73. 73. The message is the message. In a world of overflowing information, people learn to scan. People who scan develop filters and seek methods designed to find real value and they automatically screen out flashy graphics, sounds and animation. Some techniques may work for a short time, but they eventually lose effectiveness. What remains constant are the surfers quest for a quality experience and his or her ability to screen out the noise. Rather than trying to disguise your noise as content, focus on delivering something people can use.
  74. 74. Valuable content trumps UI An effective user interface provides quick and easy access to valuable information and makes relationships between sets of data more visible. It also makes for an experience that is easy on the eyes and can lead to longer times on site. That having been said, at the end of the day if there is no valuable information to be had, people will just go elsewhere.
  75. 75. Consumers are now buying like B2B, they research, they network. Claims that social-media has changed the game might have more to do with consultants trying to claim authority in a new area of expertise and less to do with actual fact. The reality seems to be that consumers are now able to do the same kind of peer review that B2B customers have done by way of their professional networks. In addition consumers now have access to vast resources capable of educating them on products and their uses. Because this behavior is now standard amongst shoppers, your best strategy is to become a repository of the knowledge they are seeking, in addition to an outlet for goods and services.
  76. 76. Technical and White Papers trump gurus for quality of content. If you are looking to find out what is happening in your industry, look to industry white papers. They provide a more technical overview of solutions and strategies than many industry notables and gurus, who tend to be more generic and focused on the press release aspect of a product or solution. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  77. 77. It's great that the Internet has created a global village, but it's also a giant customer database and communications platform. All the focus on communities, sharing, user generated content and transparency have shifted the focus away from the raw communications and data processing power of the Internet. If you can remind yourself of this simple fact, you'll be at t huge advantage.
  78. 78. Get customers by winning trust. Trust takes longer to build but it yields a more consistent type of behavior that can allow you to create more sustainable campaigns. If you just can't get the idea of immediate results out of your head, focus instead on the vast amount of freely available market data you can acquire via social networks.
  79. 79. Win trust by providing value and consistency. Make sure these two are your focal points before graphics, spin or press releases. Shift your focus on driving traffic not to your front page, but to your resources.
  80. 80. Maintain message focus on ROI, your recession burdened customers are. Don't ignore the recession online, it exists here too and it's effects will last long after any kind of recovery. It is quite likely that its severity and scope will cause fundamental changes in the focus of many businesses. This is good news for companies that provide actual ROI and can demonstrate it. The cost savings and lower burn rate on all sides of the equation will also push forward more sustainable growth and development. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  81. 81. Quality of audience trumps quantity of audience. People, particularly the advertisers that are expected to lead to realization of the valuation of sites like Facebook and Twitter, are coming to the understanding that targeted audiences have a far better return on ROI. In many ways, the major social networks are like an extremely popular TV show with no particular demographic. It's difficult to advertise to such a crowd. Worse still for the major social networks, is that it is difficult for those sites to create differentiating value to specific niches. Facebook and Twitter may have third party applications and plugins, but the content itself will continue to lag behind sites and smaller social networks in this respect. As recession bitten consumers continue to be more skilled at researching their own purchases and shy away from impulse buying, it is the smaller sites that will generate better and more consistent money per member.
  82. 82. Find a way to retain the audience you have, and others will join. In a market where customers are more informed and companies are more willing to provide purchase informing media rather than flashy ads, retaining the customer will turn out to have even more value for organizations than ever. For products of higher quality, the ongoing battle will be to keep the consumer immersed in the culture of the product and its solution path.
  83. 83. Social networks, APIs and applications have crashes, privacy issues and changing terms of service. Rely on the strength of your relationships, not on technology. Twitter is a classic example of a popular web application that struggles, even after a stabilizing population, to stay live. While they will eventually get on top of this, it is important to remember that every social media site claims the conversations, profiles and media as their own assets, not yours. This means they can limit, stop or modify the terms of access that you have. It is therefore essential that you do not rely on your connections via social networks as a business asset. Capture and nurture them on your own.
  84. 84. Human behavior changes more slowly than technological innovation. …and inertia is one of the major players in keeping the major social networks in their place at the top. People like their familiar places but love new things. Technology will continue to evolve at a quick pace but adoption will have to occur via an appeal to more fundamental human traits. Therefore, take a look at your social media strategy and make sure it is not too weighted toward staying in tune with the latest trends. You should be trying to get in tune with human needs. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  85. 85. Social-media can and should be approached scientifically. We are just now entering the phase of social networks as a valid business tool. The past two years have seen an abundance of commentary and advice on how to approach social-media from a sociological perspective. This approach has returns for enough people that now a more scientific approach is being undertaken to optimize and measure social-media interactions. Already, the solo rock star guru is being replaced by small to medium sized companies that speak in terms of analytics and business intelligence. It is time for you to do the same. Begin to approach social media methodically and measurably so that you can achieve sustainable and scalable results.
  86. 86. Social-media is a process. While your activity on social networks and the web as a whole should be comprised of defined plans and metrics, it is also important to keep the long haul in mind. This long term objective must be informed by your vision as an organization, what is stands for and what it hopes to achieve not only financially, but socially. It is the latter aspect that will provide a more authentic sense of engagement within your online efforts.
  87. 87. Develop solid working relationships, not cliques. Make sure that the online working relationships you pursue are based on some kind of real functional value, not merely on piggybacking the name or identity of someone perceived to be popular. The latter can get you into trouble later on if it turns out this media star was a charlatan. Think for the long haul in these online relationships in the same way you would offline. The current abundance of instant online celebrities might lead you to believe that this is an actual feasible businesses model. It isn't, it's only temporary. They'll be gone next year.
  88. 88. Communications should be friendly, but also lean agile and powerful. The Internet is, first, a powerful communications and data processing tool, and second a means for friendly networking. Time is money online just as much as it is offline. At present. People are content to chatter and share information online, but eventually there will be a more consistent drive to 'Get to the point' online. This is partially driven by recession economics and partly driven by the normalization and acceptance of the social internet. The latter acceptance of the social internet as an everyday thing will include flashy new applications, networks and evolutions as part of that landscape. In a word, people will start to become jaded to all the stuff that is currently so innovative and exciting. The only differentiating factor will be the ability to monetize (that is, cash in hand, not valuate), and the technorati will increasingly turn to such companies as a source of popular new stories.
  89. 89. Just because you can be online all day doesn't mean you have to be. There is no way you'll be able to keep up with all of the news as it happens, so take a break and step offline for a bit. All of this talk about authenticity is a bit hard to bear if the person you're talking to gets the sense that you haven't left your PC in two weeks. There is an enormous amount of non-digital information out there for those who are willing to speak to each other in person. Facial expressions, office layouts and organization, office culture and the off-work personalities of colleagues and associates can and should inform your business decisions as much as any flashy web page. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  90. 90. Cultivate differentiation Rather than repeat the same vernacular that the technorati and their minions are commonly putting into overuse, try creating your own vocabulary and terminology that more accurately describes your products and services. Doing so puts you in a position of leadership rather than follower or pundit trying to piggy back on the more well known.
  91. 91. With so much out there, it is more important than ever to be clear about what you want. Consumers will be doing this because they are becoming more informed and aware of a multitude of options as well as the media that can help support a more unconventional purchase decision. Therefore, it is important for companies to do a similar evaluation on their own products and services so that they can more specifically define themselves and the online communities they need to approach.
  92. 92. Deliver proof along with your claims, before it is requested. In the very near future, customers will not only expect to find more technical information about a product, they will expect it to be offered as part of the sales and promotional activity. This means that failure to offer this information up front may eventually smack of lack of transparency. Today, many companies offer their own solutions as incidental to an education they provide you on particular skills or developments in the industries they serve. This new approach to sales will create great opportunities for organizations with a technically literate sales force.
  93. 93. Provide a way for your site visitors to magnify you via social media. Make sure your blog, company page and resource pages have a 'Tweet this' or share now widget on them. This makes it much easier for your visitors to act across website and to incorporate your presence into their daily web routine. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  94. 94. Think long term. Yes, there are going to be plenty of short term marketing hacks who manage to go somewhat well by riding the hype wave du jour, but for organizations concerned about reputation and quality, these tactics will not work. Define a long term mission and build your social-media strategy around that.
  95. 95. It's about the business and the customer. Always keep in mind that it's the fundamentals of business that will make or break it for you, not some new mobile or web based technologies. Observe the evolution of the web and its various views but don't get caught up in joining every social network at the expense of your business processes. Enhancing your web or social internet presence does not make a better product.
  96. 96. When struggling to determine the value of a social network, forget about features and focus on the people using the site. The people using a given site are the ones that contain the value of the site, not the widgets and Ajax applications that spiff up the pages. That having been said, if those widgets allow you to access community members more quickly and with a set of useful filters, you may like to have a closer look. Online as in offline, it is substance that will trump style. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence
  97. 97. Social media is as real as the Internet. Contrarians view social-media as a flash in the pan soon be recognized as the first pet rock of this century. The raw physics of the matter is that the social-media media is simply the name given to the view of the Internet that contains communities of people sharing their own content. It is real, but the term given to it (Or any other term) has served as an anchor point for hype, charlatanism and gross exaggeration as to its capabilities. Spend less of your time assessing the potential of social-media and more time assessing the place of the evolving internet in your business processes.
  98. 98. Prepare for the end of Social-media hype and the beginning of social media as a real business tool. Social-media hype is now finally dying down. This is bad news only for individuals trying to trade on that excitement. Organizations that are developing metrics and messaging systems based on the very real social-media infrastructure will find this to be good news because their technical expertise will become a valuable asset. This is also good news for companies requiring their service because service providers will increasingly be competing on ROI.
  99. 99. Be a social-media scientist. While you should always keep guidelines and rules for online social interactions in place, they should change very little once clearly defined. What will evolve far more rapidly is the science, technology and areas providing ROI. What you'll need to apply are the same accounting and scientific rigor that you apply offline.
  100. 100. Finally, realize that even though these might be uncertain times, these are also times of unprecedented opportunity. This decade, while turbulent, has also empowered individuals and small businesses like never before. The range of tools to collect, analyze and audit information has exploded and is available to anyone with an Internet connection. Every year, it becomes easier for less technical people to acquire this information and to make use of it in ways that benefit their own interests. This has led to a consumer base that expects much more of the companies that serve them and the opportunities available to businesses that meet these needs are enormous. Always keep this evolving consumer and business partner in mind as you incorporate the social internet into your processes, feed their thirst for real and accurate information and be sincere with them. If you do so, you'll be positioned for sustainable growth, more satisfying work, and agility to handle the changes ahead.
  101. 101. -The 5 Pillars Of Social Media -8 Actionable Social- media Metrics - How To Link Social Media Marketing With BI - Getting Started With Social-media Marketing For Free Also Download This Free 150 Page Report The Complete Guide To Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence Please send comments and questions to: Socialbusiness@ciowhitepapers.com

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