Social Media May Be Free And Easy, But #SMM Is Neither Free Nor Easy

Social media is disruptive and for 99% of marketers it’s new and a bit frightening. As a field still being formed, you might say social media is a channel in search of best practices.

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There are common sense principles like “don’t talk about yourself all the time,” and “don’t ask for something without providing value in return.” Direct Marketing News offers a list of “check yourself” advice for social media marketers.

I especially like this bit of thinking from Rapp’s Fritz Desir:

Many brands run into difficulty—especially at the content development level—because internal departments aren’t sure what they’re getting from the company’s social campaigns, Desir says. If there’s one rule of thumb, it is to start small and claim—as in publicize—all easy victories. When applied correctly, social media can feed internal inspiration as much as it can speed external communication.

When rolling out a social campaign, remember your internal audience(s). Not only do you want to satisfy and motivate staff with Facebook posts, you want to make people proud of the company they get up and go to work every morning. That’s a tall order for a Facebook post, but it’s also real. A Facebook post — lightweight though it may be — is just the thing one’s friends or family will see and share in their own networks, so each post needs to be made with care.

Ask yourself, have you hugged your Facebook fans (staff included) today? Have you made the people who care about your company smile, guffaw out loud (GOL), think deep thoughts and/or reach for their wallets?

In the old days, “brand voice” was mostly conceptual. It was about tone of voice, not an actual voice. Today, brand voice is more factual, and less conceptual. It’s a living breathing thing, like the Internet herself. Brand voice is also a composite of many voices inside and outside the company. That part is not new, what’s new is the need for a responsive, near “real time” communications infrastructure. Bonehook can help with this, by the way.

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Digital demands speed, accuracy and consistency, but let’s not forget quality in the rush to fill content holes. Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus told me last week, “The meme-style ads (we see on Facebook) are a passing fancy. Great work has to look like it, not like it was made by some 24 year-old with an unlicensed copy of Photoshop.”

That’s an interesting POV and one we might debate. Meme-style ads are popular for a reason. My thoughts are that they blend well with a variety of other approaches. Ideally, a brand mixes it up with news from inside the company, product or service updates, customer-generated media campaigns with promotional legs, and an expansive outlook that supports the larger community around the brand (by curating and pointing to things customers care about).

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