Whenever someone asks me about social media marketing, my first question is if that person is immersed in the space. Because without that, all that comes afterwards may as well be Greek to them. Gary Hayes and Laurel Papworth put together a useful visual to help explain how things would progress from that starting point. As they say (in bold), and I expand upon:
- INVOLVE - live the social web, understand it, this cannot be faked. Come back to it after you have truly participated. This means going beyond the creation of a Twitter account and posting about your meals, as delicious (and rare) as they may be. This means putting skin in the game. Amber just wrote a timely post on why we should keep giving it away - it being not only content, time and attention are high on that list of qualities you will learn to employ effectively by getting involved.
- CREATE - make relevant content for communities of interest. The act of creation must be one of the rarest and most satisfying experiences we have as humans. It all goes back to value and that is in the eyes and thoughts of the beholder. This is about utilizing the law of attraction. Now before you start creating content, go ahead and follow Geoff Livingston's advice, read The Cluetrain Manifesto - it will help you figure out the difference between what you think has value, and what the market wants.
- DISCUSS - no conversation around it, then the content may as well not exist. This is where it gets interesting. If you created the content the market needs and have given it away freely, then you will also want to be available to facilitate the ensuing discussions. Dialogue goes to the heart of tribalization of business, a topic that Francois Gossieaux has covered extensively.
- PROMOTE - actively, respectfully, promote the content into the networks. You see by now that there is a natural progression here. Credibility and value come before the promotion piece. For a good example of that, I would signal Scott Monty who heads social media at Ford. If you search his name in conjunction with Ford, you will find plenty of entries, all positive, about his participation in the space. Check out this podcast by Albert Maruggi of Provident Partners, and learn about the social media plan Ford has put together for the introduction of the 2010 Mustang.
- MEASURE - monitor, iteratively develop and respond or be damned! Measurement is easy compared with responding. There are still many questions being asked about the appropriate responses. While you think about that, consider that ignoring legitimate questions, and not participating to the conversation around your product and service is no longer seen as an option. People now see when you're not there.
A word on terminology. I'm sure the term campaign will appeal to all marketers among my readers and be seen as contrived by the others. It still belongs to the "business as war" metaphor. When are we going to use new words? When are agencies going to start getting involved before creating an ad campaign that hangs its hat on something that goes counter the experience of the people it aims to persuade? Before getting to "promote" you've got to learn by being involved and involving in the creation process.
What do you think? These are still early days, who does it well by you?
© 2006-2009 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.