With Social Media, Follow The 5 Rules of Engagement

February 26, 2009

Rule # 1: Be Engaging!

The bellwether example, engagement is a very important word in today’s
media landscape. Studies show that people choose a product based on
its personalized or “engagement” feel, which means that businesses must
establish a rapport with customers if they wish to be successful.
Consumers also want to make sure their money is spent wisely, so they
are increasing their efforts to thoroughly research products and
services before making financial commitments.

Mark Brooks of the Motley Fool and AOL writes: “Corporations are
non-entities by definition, and consumers have had enough. They want to
deal with people at some point. I’ve done a lot of direct selling work
and one of the first things I was ever told in my direct sales training
is that ‘People Buy From People’. Sounds funny, but think about it.”

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seize an opportunity to be creative,
but those out-in-left-field ads are no longer striking the same chords
with customers. This is actually better for companies because it means
they can market themselves in a straightforward manner. It’s a pretty
simple formula: If you know you have a good product and believe in it,
you can be upfront with your customers. Gimmicks are yesterday’s news.

Rule # 2: Use it or Lose it

Social media is an umbrella term that refers to all kinds of
user-generated content on the internet. It employs the same principals
as traditional word-of-mouth, but the web-based equivalent. Fred
Lebhart on Biznik.com says that “social media has proven its value over
the past few years, even playing a role in both the Obama and McCain
campaigns during the 2008 presidential race.”

Obviously, social media is going to be of no benefit to you if the
opportunity is not seized. And why not? Lebhart ads: Social
networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well as forums and
blogs make communicating with wide audiences easier than ever, and as a
natural result, online discussion about companies and products are
taking place constantly all over the Web.”

Social media is still an intimidating to many who are not experienced
with its ways. Despite this, it would serve you well to become as
versed as possible with this medium, as it will undoubtedly be an
essential component for doing successful business in the future.

Rule # 3: Pay Attention to the Numbers

According to a report based on a March, 2008 worldwide survey of 17,000
internet users, social media, especially blogs, are “becoming a more
important part of global media consumption for internet users than some
traditional media channels.” The report surveyed 29 countries, and
concluded that social media is an international sensation, though its
use is subject to a parameter of cultural differences.

Here are other numbers from the report:

– 83% watch video clips, up from 62% in the last study in June 2007
– 78% read blogs, up from 66%
– 57% of internet users are now members of a social network
– RSS consumption is growing rapidly up from 15% to 39%
– Podcasts are now mainstream digital content, listened to by 48%
– 22% of social network users have installed a widget or applications
– 55% have shared photos
– 22% have shared their videos
– 31% have started a blog
– The world’s biggest social networks are MySpace (32%) and Facebook (23%)

Rule # 4: Define Your Goals

In order to measure the success of your social networking excursion,
make sure to set clear qualitative and quantitative goals to determine
your effectiveness with the medium. Decide what you want to gain from
your social media experience. To again quote Fred Lebhard: “Do you
want to increase subscribers to your company newsletter? Improve
customer retention or referrals? Decrease negative customer service
feedback? Think overall strategies, not tactics, and map each goal to
your social media strategy.”

Rule # 5: See for Yourself

Spend a bit of time researching on your own, and don’t rely on the
pundunts to deliver the gospel for you. Even though the sources
compiling the information may have the best intentions, and often wish
to save the reader time and energy, the internet allows you to not rely
on the middle men if you don’t wish to. The same principle applies
with respect to marketing to your customers. A well proportioned
platform designed by experts makes it a lot easier for those of you who
are busy doing something else, but education is the real key to
success. Here’s what some of the professional sources are saying:

Social media and marketing:

Social networking site, Twitter:

Social Networking Ettiquite:


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