How to Embrace the Process of Social Media

by David Finch |
David Finch
David Finch

Creating “buzz” around your product, business or event is the demand from clients to all social media marketing strategists. The common question is, can you take or produce a piece of content and make it go viral?” Can you wave your social media marketing wand and make everyone want to read it? Can you also use the same trickery and create traffic for our website?

For many, these practices are this magical event that must be forced upon the viewer or reader so that everyone will talk about “their thing.” However, buzz isn’t an event, but a reaction to a process. That process doesn’t start with a video on YouTube, but with a marketing strategy that encompasses social media and word-of-mouth marketing both online and offline.

It begins with your brand strategy and what is the message that you want to convey. From there comes a blueprint that generates a process that will provide solutions to your customer. Once this is in place, you can now begin to lay out a social media strategy.

The challenge for any social media strategy is to migrate from brand awareness to brand loyalty. This is where the process is vital if you want to move beyond just awareness. Loyalty is a by-product of an exceptional product that creates an experience and memory.

Here are a few strategies to get you started when you begin to consider developing your social media strategy.

image by romainguy

Monitor What’s Being Said
Knowing what’s being said about your company and brand is the beginning to mapping out your social media strategy. If you don’t know what is being said then this is your first step. It’s at this phase of the process that you begin to develop your approach to how you will deal with the sentiment and tone of what others are saying.

There are numerous tools both free and premium that can help. Here is a Quick ‘n Dirty Guide to Social Media Monitoring to get you started.

Create Content That You’ll Give Away

Once you know whom you are trying to reach as well as what is being said about your niche, you can then begin to produce content that gives them something they can value. If it doesn’t have any value to them, it never will be shared.

Setup a blog and make sure your content can be received by RSS. Produce video and audio podcasts with RSS feeds that can be syndicated to podcast directories, iTunes, MP3 players and iPods. Create eBooks and give them away without a three-page questionnaire to receive it.

Make it easy for others to link to your content and share it with others.

Fish Where The Fish Are At
Web Strategist, Jeremiah Owyang recently shared a storyboard titled, “Fish Where the Fish are at.” Here he compared social media to fishing and relays the importance of the fisherman who tries to understand the conditions as well as the fish he’s trying to reach. With this approach the possibilities of a successful catch out-weigh the fisherman who is enamored by the tools and the tackle.

Find out where your community is at and engage them there. If that group is still on MySpace then that is where you need to be. Don’t just reach for the tools (or tackle) find out where the fish are at that you want to reach and launch your boat.

Engage in Conversation
This cannot be said enough. Social media is social. It’s not a press release, advertising blast or a sales letter. It’s a dialogue between you (and/or the company) that gives something of value to the other person. It’s an answer to a question or a link to helpful information. It’s a face to the brand that listens and responds.

Keep in mind that conversations take time and energy. They can be ongoing, but it’s through these conversations that others feel connected to you. It’s when they feel connected that the foundation for loyalty has begun.

It’s not an event, but a strategic process that works.

Track and Analyze the Results
Not only is it important to monitor what others are saying, but also to be able to track and analyze how others are engaging with you and the content that you’ve produced. Tools such as Google Analytics and Feedburner, not to mention analytic tools within Facebook and other social media platforms make it easy to see how many people are coming to your website, downloading your podcasts and ebooks and subscribing to your RSS feed.

It’s from these results, that your able to “tweak” your approach and if need be reevaluate your strategy.

Now it’s time to get to work. Embrace your brand strategy, create your social media strategy and with your brand strategy in mind and engage in the process.

What are your thoughts to this approach?

The comments are now open!

Image by romainguy

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

About the Author

David Finch