Two Truths About Social Media - Part 2

Two Truths About Social Media - Part 2

By Guest BloggerAug 22 /2011

The following is a guest post by Nancy Myrland - The last time you and I met, we talked about Part One of Two Truths About Social Media. If you haven’t read it, I invite you to do so. Of course, there are more than two important points about Social Media, but we’ll deal with two of the most important in this series.

Here are the 2 Truths:

  • Social Media Must Be Integrated
  • The Effects of Social Media Marketing are Cumulative

What do I mean the effects are cumulative?

Social Media TruthsLike most marketing, the benefits of marketing via Social Media build over time.  This is a tough one for many because not all of us are wired to be patient.  In the case of Social Media, you’re just going to have to slow down a bit, because there are few ways around it.

Here are 4 reasons why:

1.  We Like Instant Gratification

Aren’t we accustomed to getting what we want by clicking a button, getting in a car, picking up the phone or giving money to someone?  Yes, we are.  We are down-right spoiled in this manner, which I’m not saying is a bad thing.  What this does is stretch our limits between the instant gratification of today’s life that we are used to, and the need for strategy and nurturing that must go in to Social Media if done correctly.

2.  It's Not Direct Response Marketing

I lived in a world of direct response marketing while with Time Warner from 1988 – 1997.  Almost every message we sent out over radio, TV, telemarketing, direct sales, outdoor (billboard), phone-on-hold, etc. was meant to encourage people to pick up the phone and call our 800 number immediately to order our service.  You might not think so, but it was quite an exhilarating experience to be held responsible for that kind of response….nerve-wracking at times, but exhilarating.

That’s not what we’re doing with Social Media.  What are we doing?

  • We’re being strategic about the messages we are communicating.
  • We’re choosing the appropriate channels, or sites, to use to engage our potential clients and other interested parties.
  • We’re searching for people, meeting them, getting to know them and actually having conversations with them.
  • We’re listening to them, learning from them, and using what they have to say to develop the products and services we offer so that we can meet real needs.

3.  We Need to Earn the Right to be Promotional

Before we ever begin to sell what we do, we must earn the right to do so.  If we enter these social spheres with pure promotion before we have invested time doing what I just mentioned in the last two points above, which is to build Social Capital by developing relationships and being helpful, we risk turning people off, irritating them, and losing the opportunity to ever build a relationship with them.

The exception to this is when brands that have already built universal appeal as a commodity, such as and others who have spent millions of dollars prior to social to help the world understand what they do, broadcast their sales promotions.  I think they could build even stronger bonds with customers if they were more social, but that’s a post for another day.

4.  We Need to Develop Goals for Social Media Use

Perhaps that’s not how we started when we were introduced to Social Media.  We’re all human.  We’re curious. Many of us like to learn and try new things.  I’m one of those people.  I’m a sponge that can’t get enough of learning new things on a constant basis.  I often dip my toe in to the water to see what’s going on.

Whether we dove head-first in to Social Media or not, the need to set goals for our use of these channels has never been more important than it is today.  People are finding out this can take a large portion of their days if they don’t focus on why they’re there.  I know I could!  I love these tools, but I have to be careful, just like you do if you are operating a business.  If you’re in this just for fun and education, with no marketing and communication demands behind you, by all means go ahead and have fun!

In other words, we need to set goals.  This is no different than any other marketing activity we’ve undertaken in the past.  The difference is that we have never been more in charge of the content, the distribution, the tone, the interaction, the feedback, the follow-up and the relationships that we are attempting to develop.

Given those four reasons, you might also want to keep these thoughts in mind about your Social Media use:

Quality but not Epic

Even though we need to be strategic, set goals and be focused, don’t get hung up over perfection.  As my friend Deb Knupp of Akina says:

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”

I am as guilty of this as the next person.  Everything doesn’t have to be perfect in order for it to be productive.  I treat some parts of my business life like this, and it holds me back.   This doesn’t  apply to the development and nurturing of relationships via Social Media.  It is my firm belief that:

“Every comment you make doesn’t have to be epic or of New York Time Bestseller List quality.”

Who develops relationships by only saying brilliant things?  Do you walk up to someone new at a Business After Hours and say,

“Well, good evening!  Did you hear about the World Food Programme’s latest policy on feeding hungry nations?"

Of course not!

  • You nurture the relationship.
  • You engage in a bit of small talk.
  • You mention that you have to leave by 6:45 to pick up your son at football practice.
  • You ask if the other person has any children.
  • You ask where they work.
  • You listen.
  • You comment accordingly.
  • You contribute a comment that is related.
  • You talk about what happened in the markets today.
  • In other words, you take steps in putting together a conversation that might someday lead to some type of business relationship or friendship.

My last piece of advice for you:

“Be patient!” The effects of Social Media marketing are cumulative.  You must put in the time, effort and resources to develop the relationships that lead to what you hope to accomplish.

What do you think?  What are your truths about Social Media?

Nancy MyrlandNancy Myrland, President, Myrland Marketing, is a Certified Social Media Speaker, Trainer & Consultant, and a Professional Marketing Advisor with more than 20 years experience in partnering with clients to build their business by strengthening their relationships with their clients.  She started Myrland Marketing in 2002. Join us and our guest Nancy to learn three steps to successful B2B social media marketing below.


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