Last night, I went to a networking event which is directed towards Social Media evangelist; people who use social media for marketing and advertising for themselves or their clients. A few things became very apparent…
- We should never prejudge or make definitive statements about any social media tool. We need to try lots of different social media tools and find the one that works for us and/or our clients.
- It is important to have goals for your social media efforts. Goals tell us where we want to be rather than wandering around aimlessly using the different social media tools.
- You need a plan. Without a plan, it is like I always say “You decide to go to Springfield, but which Springfield and how are you going to get there?” Again, without a plan, you are wondering around aimlessly in the social media world.
- You need to measure your results. There are many free and paid tools which will help you measure your effectiveness and help you determine if you are meeting your goals. Then you can see if you need to change your tools, goals or plan. You don’t know if you have met your social media objectives if you are not checking on your progress.
- Do not use social media to spam your customers, friends, etc. Use social media to build and support your community. How would you talk to people on the phone or at a social gathering? Would you walk up to them and say buy my product/service. Of course not, you would try to get to know them and share common interests so that you could help each other. Do the same thing when using social media sites.
- Experience matters. Last night, one of the speakers had more life experience than the others on the panel and the audience hung on every golden pearl of wisdom out of his mouth. So we need to remember to listen to those that have had a chance to learn from their experience. We can learn from their experience in the trenches.
- This was NOT said last night, but should have been said. Social Marketing is nothing new. People have been doing it since time eternal – it is simply word of mouth marketing, that note pinned on the bulletin board at your grocery store, that Tupperware party, etc. Now, we just have some more tools or channels.
- So back to the tools. Social Media tools are evolving as new technology comes out. Keep your efforts moving forward, but realize the tools will change so don’t get tied to “THIS IS THE BEST SOCIAL MEDIA TOOL!”. Always keep your eyes open for new social media tools and channels of communication.
Social Media has changed the landscape for people in all fields, all ages and all levels of experience. We can all take advantage of the new channels of communication which technology has given us. Just remember a few simple rules; 1) have a goal, 2) make a plan or strategy, 3) measure your results and 4) learn from people who have been in the trenches for a while.
First published January 21, 2011