Why you shouldn’t just ‘do’ social media

Why you shouldn’t just ‘do’ social media

Image credit: graphicsfuel.com

Yesterday I was talking to a very talented, in-demand wedding photographer. She brims with creative energy, has a gorgeous website loaded with beautiful wedding photographs and an enviable order book. Looking at her website will make even the biggest pessimist want to get hitched tout de suite.

Then she made a confession with a slightly guilty look in her eyes:

I don’t really do anything with LinkedIn anymore. It’s all I can do to keep Facebook going, really.

Then she shot a glance around the table as if to see whether anyone was going to react with shock or disapproval.

Here are some of the things I share with my mentoring clients when social media come into the picture‎.

Why ‘doing’ social media can be counter-productive

A social media presence is not compulsory

Don’t believe all of the hype. Especially if you are tying yourself in knots trying to decide what you should do, and this starts to distract you from your business goals.

People have successfully built and expanded businesses for centuries before Twitter et al. came along.‎ Just saying.

Start by matching your social media choices to your confidence

Social media have only been around for give or take a decade (not counting papyrus rolls, that is). As a result of the emergence of new and potential engagement channels, the ‎social media landscape is constantly changing and developing.

Many consultancies have started to become very profitable by contributing to this innovation. They are out to prove a point, and are genuinely excited about social media, as you can imagine. Quite a few pump advice into the blogosphere which can be frankly intimidating for the uninitiated.

For new entrants onto the social media scene this can be bewildering. My advice to nervous newbies always is to do this in steps, and if it helps, stay close to what you know to begin with. Build your confidence from there.

Find out where your target audience hangs out and meet them there

Going back to my photographer friend: where do people share their wedding photos? Facebook, you betcha. For her, Facebook is also a great place to ask the question, ‘where else do you expect to find me?’. The answer is less likely to include LinkedIn than it isFlickr or Pinterest, but she will not know until she asks the question.

Write your own social media rule book

It’s OK to learn on the job here. There are some golden rules to help you avoid costly learning. Cherry pick your ‘experts’ and stick to those whose advice stretches your understanding, but doesn’t require Google Translate to make sense of it. The expert advice will always be on tap for you: go find it when you need more. 

First let’s get going and get some learning done about what does and doesn’t work for your business on social media.

Hold on to your chosen social media mantra

This is not a paper exercise. Use it as a measure to make sure what you do on social media is in line with your business goals and values. If one of your key ingredients is missing, don’t do it.

For example this one to help decide where on social media to be active:

Find your audience, find your voice, engage in the conversation.

This mantra reminds you to do your market research, match your messages to the platform (see 3) and not just tell your story, but to listen to theirs first.

What it boils down to…

Using social media has to be a help to you, not a worry.

Now I look forward to hearing some tales of your own. ‎What great insight you learned yourself would you add to the above?

Why you shouldn’t just ‘do’ social media

marketing promotion strategy: 3 keys to success

The key to serendipity is being organised

The key to serendipity is being organised

A few days ago I spotted a bunch of keys in the street near where I live, and stopped to pick them up. As I did so I thought of the logistical nightmare losing my own keys would cause, and the cost of replacing them, and the bother of it all, and how I’d be truly annoyed with myself that I had lost them in the first place, etc.

The keyring had a tag with a URL to a website called Keyfetch. Excellent, I thought, someone’s  going to be relieved to get them back, I’m sure. The Keyfetch website invited me to pop in my email address before opening an anonymous chat box, so that I could exchange messages with the keys’ owner and arrange for them to be returned.

The next day the ‘owner’ of the keys replied:

Thank you for returning this set of keys. Keyfetch, which is a new lost property retrieval service, is conducting a national study on how honest Britons are. By attempting to reunite these keys with their rightful owner, you’ve helped gather statistics which reinforce the belief that we live in a socially responsible society. To thank you, we’d like to gift you a one-year Keyfetch membership.

On doing a quick Google search, as one does, I discovered that Keyfetch launched in January and has been ‘planting’ sets of keys across Britain.  A really clever marketing promotion strategy I think, because it does three things:

1. Seeding the product to start the conversation

A well-known tactic used in word of mouth marketing (WOM) is to give people early access to your product. This works particularly well if you are launching something innovative, exclusive or something which has been hyped up already. It can set tongues wagging, especially if you combine a strong campaign with a strong brand message:

Keyfetch, which is a new lost property retrieval service, is conducting a national study on how honest Britons are.

A lovely connection is being made between the name and purpose of the service and doing the right thing, which is of course what will make this service work. A very strong brand message, and it works – I’m blogging about it, and your reading it, right? ’nuff said.

2. Strategic product placement

How do you place your product to make it visible in the market, when that product is a service? Provide a sample.

Yep – I’ve seen the product in action, it was literally strategically placed for me to notice it, and the idea worked. Coming across this product in its natural habitat of abandonment strengthened the message that this is a product I might want myself: in the space of thirty seconds I went through the emotion of surprise at finding the keys, empathy with the owner of the keys who’d lost them, to curiosity about how the system works and contentment that I was doing something helpful for someone else.

3. A freebie

It isn’t just that we like a freebie, but we also might need to build up our confidence about the product itself before we buy. In this case ‘trying out’ the product was certainly interesting, the offer of a free year’s membership could well remove any last reservations I might cling on to.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing the results of that national study. If I was in their marketing department, I’d be getting excited too – the data of the study is going to be great brainstorming material to build on the current marketing promotion strategy, for starters. I just have one little niggle: I’ll have inadvertently invalidated the data when I took the bait. You see, I am not a Briton…