Mitch Joel of Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Blog started an interesting project to gather the best practices of Social Media Marketing. Here is the one that I tell all my clients.
Social Networks are places for people to gather, share ideas, experiences, learn and have a little fun. Companies, on the other hand, have a hard time with these motives because they only know one way to market — using war analogies. They traditionally:
- “target” their demographics,
- “launch initiatives” at them
- “orchestrate campaigns” against them,
- and “blast” them with messaging.
Unfortunately, companies that rush pell-mell into these Social Networks with traditional marketing guns a blazin’, end up at the wrong end of a firing squad.
Therefore, I remind my clients that it’s better to ease their way into an online Social Network the same way one would with an offline social event. Be a wallflower for a little while, simply observing. Look around. Listen to the conversations. Try to understand the overall vibe of the place.
Then, after you begin to understand the vernacular and can feel the rhythm of the conversations, ask yourself the following question: “How can I help make this community better?”
Be useful. Seek first to help, even if (especially if!) it has nothing to do with your product or service. Soon, as members see that you are willing to invest in the community and its members, they will likely reciprocate, in more powerful ways than you can imagine.