The story of the 10 Commandments is one of the oldest in history, yet still applicable today. It provides a guide for all to live by to attain a harmonious life. The same can be said for the following 10 principles of social media marketing. It is important to comprehend and utilize these strategies to ensure social media success!
Here, we take a look at how to apply social media’s 10 Commandments.
Social networking sites are places dedicated to making friends and socializing. People who blatantly sell can expect to be unfriended and banished. No one ever logs on to Facebook and thinks, "I hope there are some great ads on my page today." Hold yourself to the neighborhood tavern rule: don't do anything on social networks you wouldn't do with friends at a local watering hole. That means you would not:
Try to sell them things
Talk about yourself incessantly
Ignore their needs
People do not make friends with corporations; they make friends with people who work at corporations. Choose pictures that aren't slick head shots, conversational writing, friendly smiles and showing a more personal side. Get rid of the corporate robots and replace them with bright, smiling faces of helpful friendly people.
Great social conversations are about sharing passions. Instead of trying to sell a product, sell your passion. Instead of listing product attributes, talk about the passions that product serves. Don't talk about the durability of the bike frame, talk about your passion for riding and how a strong frame makes great adventures possible.
Each social network site has a vibe, and understanding the intricacies of each is important. Remember, the members of this community know each other. You are the new guy, and if you hope to be included, don't act like a rock star. Before you try to make yourself a part of this group, you must clearly understand the unspoken rules.
The goal of all of your online contribution should be to add value. Before posting as a new member, ask yourself, "How am I adding to the conversation?" On some sites, discussing your product is allowed, but in most places it is unwanted and obtrusive.
Take the time to reach out to the sites that already hold sway with your fans. Can you work with them instead of trying to muscle in and reinventing the success they have already achieved? Pay special attention to successful bloggers, community organizations and other companies that share your passion. Trek Bikes, Greenpeace, Range Rover, REI and Kodak all share a passion for outdoor adventure. What companies share your passion?
The best social networking sites approach marketing from the vantage point of service. The companies seek to enrich the lives of their fans. This shows their deepest ethics and values. Apple believes in the power of creativity. Microsoft believes in the endless possibilities of education. Others companies show their values by providing help for those who need it the most. How can you empower them and the things they care about most?
Inventory the collective knowledge of your company's employees. What expertise could they share that would enrich the lives of your fans? Instead of selling dog food, Pedigree educates an entire community about pet nutrition. What is your core competency? How could your team educate the world?
Most brands on social media are so busy sucking all the air out of the (virtual) room they never acknowledge the good work of their fans. Social media marketing works best when it is most generous. It is OK to talk about yourself some of the time, but don't miss an opportunity to praise others and spotlight their accomplishments. This shows you appreciate your friends and value their camaraderie.
I see site after site where questions go unanswered and comments are ignored. Nothing builds trust like a personally answered question or a well-timed comment. Far too many companies are so busy crowing about their own accomplishments they ignore the people they are hoping to befriend.
Authentic caring and genuine friendliness are the secret ingredients behind any social media marketing campaign. Know your fans, listen to them, contribute and, most importantly, let you hair down a little. Your results will be more immediate and long-lasting than the slick, polished, specious tone that pervades the fake and predatory world of traditional marketing.
Photo Credit: njhdiver
Graeme Newell works for 602 Communications as a brand consultant. He specializes in emotional marketing. Learn more about his seminar here.