A Quick Start to Community Marketing with Social Media
A Quick Start to
and Social Media
Back to Basics
Using social media as a tool to create a community where one did not exist previously is difficult and not a
wise place to start. Instead, ask how your business can use social media tools as opportunities to improve
Don’t let new technology shift your focus. The technology that powers social media is just a factor that
makes connecting easier. Fundamentally, communities haven’t changed. What’s new is the ability for brand
representatives to become a member of a community and generate goodwill from the inside out.
The Golden Rule
We believe that your business can profit by creating symmetrical value exchanges. Basically, this means
you shouldn’t have to deny the needs of the community or ignore your business’ objectives. The temptation
is to jump into social channels and provide content with the hope that it will catch on like wildfire - resulting
in free publicity.
Beyond keeping your expectations in check, The Golden Rule ensures that what you provide will be of true
value to the community. To succeed, you need to understand what the needs of the community are. If you
have previously determined a community’s needs, we challenge you to re-evaluate your findings to ensure
they are still relevant.
Move Beyond Media
Listening is the best way to determine what a given community wants. Monitor your brand by searching
specific sites and key terms. There are several tools that allow you to do this. Analyzing the results allows
you to give the community what it desires through channels that are not intrusive or unwanted. You should
never stop listening. Moving forward, you can expect to maintain an average listening to talking ratio of 70 to
Don’t Contain Your Content
Social media is not as black and white as listening and then talking. It’s a conversation - a story. Social media
is often dependent on the content you offer. If you are only focused on the “social” aspect of social media,
you risk becoming consumed with making content easier to share, as opposed to producing content that
is worth sharing. Community members don’t share content simply because there is a “share this” button
attached to it. People share content that adds value to their personal networks. The type of content that is the
most valuable is the content that makes the sharer look the best, whether it be smarter, funnier or happier.
A Balancing Act
After you have listened, monitored, created, posted and responded, there is only one thing left to do - repeat
the entire process. Additional blog posts need to be written, monitored and commented on and shared.
Twitter has to be updated, followers and friends need to be managed and monitored. How will you support all
of this activity?
Scale. Assign an employee or dedicated team to be of charge of maintaining activity. Technology such as
cloud computing, for example, allows seemingly impossible workloads to be shared, making them more
1. More is not always better - reaching the right people is key. You need to ensure you are reaching and
empowering active contributors that will help mobilize your efforts.
2. All social media efforts (regardless of whether your company is B2B or B2C) are person-to-person. Every
user is human. Technology is just the medium, don’t forget there is a real person on the other end. If you
aren’t behaving in a way that suggests there is a human on your end, your actions will be regarded as spam.
3. Explore partnerships with organizations that have already established a community online. For
partnerships to be successful, they must be mutually beneficial. Ask yourself what you bring to the table.
4. If you are ready to create your community, ensure that opting-in is simple. Attention spans and patience
are shorter than ever. Leverage the ability to access existing profile information through an open ID source,
like Facebook Connect.
5. If you are a for-profit business, recall that community marketing is not about a hard sell. Instead, determine
a call-to-action for the community. Ensure the path you want community members to take (visiting your
website, watching your YouTube Video, etc) is easily accessible for those who want to take it. Know that
making an overt call-to-action that doesn’t benefit the community will be ignored, if not ridiculed.
We Surf the Web Too
We spend a lot of time online. Our team is both personally and professionally involved in many online
communities. Trust us, there is a lot of content we wish we could remove because it detracts from our
experience. We’d like to do our part to ensure businesses add beneficial content. At the same time, we want
to ensure our client’s businesses flourish. After all, we’re only as successful as the products, services and
brands we work with. Here’s to your success (and ours ;).
Sarah Katz :P
Interested? Call, Tweet or Write Us.
Tony Wood 8-)