When it comes to social media marketing, there are a million voices, opinion and tips to follow, but from where do you start?
Photo credit: Robin Good
Many of those who have jumped right into the social media frenzy by becoming extremely active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other popular social media destinations, have yet to reap the benefits of their social media spending, while having already committed a very significant amount of time to this activity.
The thing I see, in front of my eyes, is somewhat sad: lots of people and companies spending tremendous resources and time on these social media communication and sharing tools with little or no insight on how to make this also a valuable return on investment.
You feel compelled to get involved, to to use and explore more of this booming social media universe, but your traditional assumptions about business, communication and marketing seem all to crumble to pieces when you try to use or apply them in this new world.
Here is my short take on it, recorded as I was traveling by train from Rome to Florence:
Duration: 7' 52''
Full English Text Transcription
Robin Good: Hi, this is Robin Good and yes, I am taking a very short trip, in fact I think we should be landing in about 21 minutes.
I am just going from Rome to Florence to talk today to a group of people representing different companies that operate inside the information technology area, in the area of Tuscany and Florence.
I am just inside a gallery, inside a tunnel with the train that is going to take me there, but I was just spending a little time reflecting on the topic that I am going to present today.
I said to myself, why do not I share my ideas about social media marketing strategy to whoever else is out there and is not going to be here today in Florence?
That is going to help me both consolidate my view of what I will tell to these people in two-three hours, as well as help me share my own vision of how I think is best to best leverage the potential that new media, online communication and these pervasive social media platforms provide to those who want to improve the quality and effectiveness of their own communication and marketing strategies.
Is that really possible? Is it just a fad?
The Problem: Getting Lost
How do I see it? The first thing that I see - I have actually a few notes in my pocket here that I want to grab - is the fact that most web publishers are really out of tune with what they need to do as they are forever inside a patch-up, fix-up correction mode in which they are not very well too sure about what is coming next, or where they want to land, but they are just superbusy trying to:
- Add new stuff,
- fix the things that are not working,
- correcting bugs,
- looking for new plug-ins, extensions, and additions that are going to make their website cooler, fancier, more attractive, and more unique.
Most people really get lost.
Most people inside the communication area of their own organizations get lost in this endless loop of trying to fix, add, correct and revise, which - believe me - is something that can take all of your time and forever.
It is very difficult to dismantle the position of somebody that says: "We cannot really improve our project, our planning, our vision, our use of social media, because there is already way too much to do".
I absolutely agree from the beginning, that if you have a website there is always way too much to do to be able to add anything else. But at the same time you can be doing all that stuff forever and never reach really any new plateau, any significant new change, any great new achievement.
Is it really worthwhile to have these justifications or is it better sometimes to just let some things go bad, to get rotten, and fix and work on the overall strategy and vision, so that we are more easily able to achieve something tangible? Because if we have a plan and a road to get somewhere - it is one story. If instead we are just patching up things and correcting our direction as we go along, it is much more difficult really to get anywhere that you have established yourself. It is going to be that you are going to land in a lot of interesting places, but very rarely where you want to end up.
My Proposition? Provide Real Value!
What is my proposition to those inside of organizations who want to do this properly, rapidly and do not want to listen to me now for another ten minutes but just one?
The key proposition is to identify how you can provide real value to your audience, to your future fans and customers. Stopping to think that blogs and news are the solutions to everything, because people want something more than that. They can find blogs just about anywhere and news are coming out of their ears.
If your company is about information technology or about letting people improve the way they use this stuff, you as a company should be helping them achieve that. Not just by randomly and systematically posting whatever you discover and find out - because that is all good and fine, but there are a million other companies doing the same.
What really can make a difference?
If you try to understand specifically what is the type of value, what is the type of content and possible services that your people want and starting to build those one at a time, building block by building block, step by step, a little bit at a time by providing key value in the areas where your people are interested.
You are going to develop some real community of loyal fans, people that like you, what we would otherwise call "real fans". People that love to deal with your company, to get your services and they will be your best marketing agents. But to get to that level, you really need to identify the focus and provide real value, and then adopt some tools that make it possible for you to have a real ongoing conversation with such an audience, with such a community.
- It may be a newsletter-based,
- it may be a forum,
- you may use a social media venue,
- you may leverage the power and potential live events, or
- you can create a mix of these.
You Must Have a Conversation With Your Audience
But unless you have an ongoing conversation in which you can listen directly to your people and understand where they are at and what they really want from you, you are always going to try to guess out, anticipate, speculate what they want and trying to make an offering that satisfies them.
Instead you should be exactly on their boat, inside the same water and therefore completely in tune with their frequency about what are the issues, the pains, the needs, the desires that they want and you could be satisfying them for.
That is what I think is the appropriate strategy and loop you can actually utilize to get in total synthony, in total harmony with your audience.
It is not just adding social media, it is becoming part of a group of people that is made up of your customers and not talking to them from the top-down, but listening to them, asking them things, understanding what they want and providing it to them.
Once you have a community of fans, it becomes much easier to promote, market and sell stuff without even ever saying that, but just letting people ask you what they will want next.
Florence, here I come. Ciao, guys.
Video clip originally recorded by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia. First published on December 16th, 2009 as "Social Media Marketing Strategy Simplified: Stop Thinking Blog, Start Thinking Value".
Originally written by Robin Good and first published on MasterNewMedia.Robin Good -