We’ve built an interesting new paradigm with our practice that has allowed some great customers to trust that we could guide them through this new world of conversation. We help them where they fail to think like media companies when they have all the tools available. I still feel that too many won’t stand up for their customers and constituents in the social media space. They want to do the same old thing using drag and drop features. My top least liked behaviors include:
-Monkeys: We sometimes have clients who take over what we’ve implemented and start going after us. It never fails. They start off strong and inevitably their social media activity becomes another thing to do. The tools kill the relationship. If you hire a traditional PR firm, you can be assured to have same results. Social media is (NOT) another line item as part of your marketing plan. You want to try to pick up the phone with fans who interact on Facebook? Do they ask themselves about personally rewarding interactions like a virtual ‘hand shake’? I don’t think so.
-The Numbers Game: “When I go see the big boss, I need to have those numbers up…” anonymous. We teach our children ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ but marketers forget their manners. They are sucked into looking good. I even hear that some social media or PR firms get paid by the numbers. Get me a high number of followers on Twitter or Facebook! Like it’s the thing that matters.
-Blogging for SEO: This is too common. Demonstrated leadership is hard to do as it takes a community to start blogging ‘curated’ content. ‘Content’ becomes just another keyword packed house with little substance.
-Fear mongers: You may turn some company employees in social-ites. Nevertheless, every project will have its fear mongers, from the VP of something who wonders if we should turn off the fan pages to comments or the IT manager who sends a note to all employees saying “By protecting your updates, you remove them from the public timeline and hide them from anyone who you do not approve.” Geez… Twitter is meant to be the opposite. Stick with email man…it works great :)
-Arrogance has no place in the land of Grace: The Nestle VS Green Peace case exploded a few weeks ago and once more reflects how self destructive brands are. They live in corporate islands and claim their territory. Every bad sentiment should be eradicated (delete). The same people will pay a fortune to get research firms to deliver them market and customer insights for the next market move. But will they engage their critics? NO.
Let’s step away from the BS for a moment…
-Human relationships are strong: Never underestimate how much good they can do. Every fan, every follower, matters. Especially those who engage with your brand. If they take the time to say something about you, it’s gold. As Solis puts it, “social graphs are forming dedicated audiences willfully connected through context and interest.” Reward them. Being with them may sometimes suffice. If your brand already has a “cool factor”, you may have the impression that you’re doing a great social media job or you may simply think that it’s easy. You’re probably just ignoring its potential. If you don’t have that cool factor, it’ll take more than one engagement trick to get people to connect. I always say blogging is the mothership of social media as it creates a back bone for the social media strategy.
-Enrich relationships: Getting attention from your community is a rare commodity and wasting their time with discount marketing tricks will keep you at a low perception point. NO ONE in business likes price wars…That’s so last century. Why manage relationships by its lowest common denominator?
-Businesses are Media: Eloquently articulated by Solis “establishing a presence is elementary, captivating audiences is artful” and to also mention “as brands, we become media” – All the tools are available today to let businesses become an early form of publishing specialty house.
-The constituent voice (rules): If we (Extanz) could, we would get customers in charge of the facebook fan pages, and we would get customers to have free blogging access to the corporate blog and express their own life-cycle experience. I know it’s like a dream. A brand is the sum of its constituents, without all of them (up and down the value chain), there is no brand. Editorially outsourced infrastructure is what we do as it’s the basis for community and influencer engagement.
-A real focus is required: The beauty of social media is that for every person who speaks up, there are 100s who are watching quietly. Call on your own experience. I’m sure you’ve had comments at parties or face to face about a post you made on Facebook. They were quiet on Facebook but face-to-face, they’ll say something. People are watching and keep up with you. The quality of your engagement will keep that lead warm. Once again, in a super-fast information world, attention is a rare commodity.
-Relationships have no timeline: The traditional marketing timelines are wrong and most of the time abusive relationally, so don’t even think about it. Yes, we all want ROI, but positive relationships transcend that. One customer friend at a time is the only way to go if you don’t want to turn into a customer-adverse company.
What’s your experience? How do you feel we’ve evolved in the last few years?