In my new job, I do a lot of research specifically on the 18-34 “Millennial” demographic. If you’re targeting the same demographic, you are well aware the social media is playing a strong roll in your strategies. The good news is, social media isn’t waning one bit. In fact, it’s on the rise. The question isn’t should you market in the social space, but how? eMarketer.com recently release an article that offered their 10 best practices for social media success. These are so good that I wanted to share them with you. My thoughts are [italicized]:
- Don’t think social media, think social marketing. – Social marketing is more about empowering, organizing and training select staff members to engage on social platforms—and building a corporate social presence—than it is about paid media placements.
- Know your objectives first—then develop your social strategy. – Broadly speaking, the most important objectives relate to creating deeper relationships with customers and branding.
- Recognize the secret ingredient: trust – Clearly, marketers see an opportunity to leverage this peer-to-peer trust factor by participating in and influencing social conversations taking place on the Web. But the way in which they do that is critical. The first step toward earning trust with consumers, as in any relationship, is to listen. [If you haven't read Chris Brogan's Trust Agents yet, do it soon.]
- Listening comes first. [When @ComcastCares entered the Twitter space, they did so by listening first. It wasn't until they understood the medium and how their customers were using it, that they actually went public. Planning and preparation are key to success in the social space.]
- Don’t just barge into a conversation: Add value. [In fact, nothing will get you ignored faster.]
- Be authentic, transparent and humble. [Social media is about conversation. It's not a platform.]
- Recruit from your core: the brand enthusiasts who already love you. – Digital communities allow marketers to both find these coveted consumers (through listening) and empower them to share a brand story with many others.
- Target the coveted influentials. – Some consumers have more clout than others. These so-called influentials, representing about 10% of the population, according to Keller Fay Group, have an undue influence on others because of their extensive digital networks and perceived expertise in particular areas. Keller Fay believes that influentials are 130% more likely than others to talk about brands on any given day.
- Adopt a long-term/real-time approach. As blogger and social media expert Joe Jaffe has frequently said, “[Social media] marketing is not campaign; it’s a commitment.”
- Integrate social media with other online and offline communications. Social media represents another stream of touchpoints for the marketer, but they are most valuable when integrated with other consumer activities, from search and e-mail to watching videos and reading news online.
Whether you are a brand, or someone trying to figure out how to engage with people inside the social media sphere, this is a great list to go by.