Social Media Marketing: Getting Started

There’s a big difference between watching Golf and playing Golf at a professional level. Social Media is no different that other professional efforts: Once you become in engaged in it you learn that it’s probably not as simple as you first thought.

In the course of talking to prospective clients I’ve found a mixed bag of comments that all go something like “I got plenty of people who are on Facebook all the time, you can create an account in 5 minutes”

Selecting your Social Media Brand NAME

Social Media Mess

Unlike when you registered your website with a registrar for your unique URL, which was all overseen via ICANN, there is NO single place that you can register all of your SOCIAL MEDIA brand name. The key to words there are “Brand NAME” and not “Brand NAMEs”.  You have to create a profile in each SM space you want to present your brand individually.

As a marketer you already know the importance of using consistent images and names.  It becomes even more important in social media because you want people to find you when they use a search engine.  If you have a mixed bag of names your message may not reach the people you want to reach and, like two ships passing in the night, you will never engage in conversation. One very good service to use to begin the process is Knowem. However, Knowem doesn’t help you establish your brand in your industry specific niche forums.

Read the “Terms of Service” (TOS)

I’ve talked to some very well-known major companies about their Social Media efforts.  When we sit and look at their SM spaces we discover that they’ve “jumped into” social media “Oh yea, we’re there!” But then we dig into it only to find that they have set up their company name as personal account and not created a COMPANY profile at all.  They at risk with not only with the loss of the SM account but also the loss of all of the conversations that they are engaged in already.

Just like entering a new foreign market there are cultural “rules” that should be followed.  By not showing respect for the local culture, and taking the time to understand it in advance, you risk creating a negative brand image that could take years to recover from to get back to zero.  Don’t burn your bridges and not even realize that you’re doing it.  Social Media spaces have their own culture. You are entering a cyber world.  Be sure to have a good understanding of how things work before you make the trip.

Linking your Social Media

Once you have selected a brand NAME in your various spaces, you will need to have a good understanding of how the various “Status Updates”, “Wall Posts”, “Tweets”, “Blog Posts”, etc all connect together.  The people you want to reach may be in one SM space while you’re posting, at that moment, in another. Determining which posts are shared and which are not becomes a very important decision.

There’s quite bit more to think about that I’ve put into the slide show below. Take a peek at it:

[slideshare id=5061983&doc=rpm-implementingsocialmedia-100826112705-phpapp01]

The above slideshow presentation should give you an overview of how to start your social media efforts.  It outlines the reach and scope of social media (SM) for those new to the space.

Getting in & Staying IN the Space

Once you have gotten into the new cyber world to market your brand, stay acutely aware that the landscape in social media is changing.  I’ve compared it to the 1849 Gold Rush in San Francisco.  Everyone is new, Everyone is from somewhere else.  What was the “best place” last week is not the “best space” this week.  That’s led some to say “Let’s wait, and not be on the bleeding edge”  The Bleeding Edge was several years ago and it was yesterday. The onslaught of new users hourly entering the social media cyber world is beyond compare.

Here’s an example, when I started using Slideshare as an add-in app on my LinkedIn profile it was NOT a social network.  It was a place to put slideshows to pull up on customer & client computers.  NOW, it’s a social network…. and the added functionality is expanding weekly it seems.  Every social media site is doing the same.  As they grow, they are becoming more and more niche, more and more industry specific, more and more topic specific.  Getting IN is critical at this point so that you, and your company, can establish your brand as a thought leader and engage and develop relationships…. but, you MUST stay engaged and continue to drill down as the individual spaces evolve.

I recently had a conversation with a client about YouTube and how it has evolved.  I showed them Don Fitchett‘s YouTube Channel Business Industrial Network. Don has been in that space (and many many others) for some time. He has over 430,000 upload views, has 1500 subscribers staying current with his latest news and he has over 5,000 friends.  That didn’t happen overnight.  Don is continuously engaged with his clients and potential clients.  Now ask yourself two questions:

  • If I wait for the dust to settle how many customers might my competitors pick up and I won’t know about it?
  • If I jump into the space and don’t understand the culture, or have a plan, what will it cost me?

Conclusion and Take-Aways

The conclusion that should be drawn after reviewing this is that developing a structured Social Media Strategy and Tactical implementation plan is crucial to your company’s success.

Without a plan you may find yourself creating a negative brand image within the space and end up spending more money trying to undo what you created and start over.

I look forward to your comments and questions.

– Special Thanks to @RonDavies for blogging about “Knowem”
– “Social Mess” infographic by Tom Cuniff

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