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How Easy Can It Be – Brand Social Marketing

By now, most everyone should have a decent grasp on what social marketing is and how it works at a fundamental level. But before you jump into it, be sure to ask yourself if you really understand what social marketing entails.

Keep these concepts in mind:

  • “Social” is more than a buzzword – Social marketing doesn’t work if the interaction or engagement isn’t real
  • Real engagement doesn’t just happen – there must be a strategic reason for each opportunity
  • Real engagement takes real commitment – consistency and ongoing commitment are more important to success than contests and big-idea campaign events
  • Every individual social network or venue must be considered as a potential tactic in an overall marketing strategy that includes social integration

Each individual social marketing network has its own unique needs based on how its users interact with it. Today’s best-known social networks are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace. As you contemplate your overal marketing strategy, you will need to build a clear understanding of the audiences that each attracts — for though similar in purpose and competitive in nature, each engages its audience differently.

Facebook employs a more broad casual engagement pattern, while Twitter demands a fairly high volume of personalized interaction. LinkedIn is aimed primarily at business-to-business networks and MySpace is more geared toward the entertainment industry.

No individual social network does well in “one-to-many” marketing. Successful social marketing requires more than a predetermined cadence of set messaging that blasts out to everyone (though this is still an important tactic to any marketing strategy). This lends more importance to the need to engage more often and at times in an impromptu manner.

The success of any social marketing effort requires the promise and fulfillment of sincere engagement. Though it would be impossible to deliver on a level of service that guarantees complete “one-to-one” interaction, you can engage everyone in a group conversation with a real give-and-take that demonstrates respect and mutual acknowledgement.

Social marketing should be as simple as opening up the lines of conversation and maintaining that two-way flow of communication over time. But it requires ongoing, dedicated effort. And remember, it takes time for social marketing to impact your bottom line. Currently, the ability to measure cause and effect isn’t as clear-cut as desired, but it is obvious that customers are eager to connect with your company.

To best set up your company for social marketing success, you must commit to the following:

  • Deliver all communications in a consistent brand voice
  • Engage customers consistently and committedly, according to a particular social network’s best practices
  • Consider devoting an employee full-time to maintain social marketing efforts

And finally, the main thing you should keep in mind before jumping into the world of social marketing: It is supposed to be fun. There is a limit to the dry corporate marketing speak through which people want to wade. Keep the tone light and personable. The more you can connect with them, the more they will identify with your company. And after that happens, everything else is gravy.

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