>A thought on Social Media – by contributor Tony Rappa

>I have taken my share of hard knocks along the road of the internet. I have made many mistakes and taken steps that caused unwanted outcomes. I have also spent a lot of time learning from those mistakes and hope to help a little in the area of social media marketing. Just a few items that I have learned along the way . . .

  1. The PR and Marketing rules of yesterday don’t work with social media marketing. It’s most definitely a world with its very own rules and most of those rules are the exact opposite of what you might think.
  2. Your demographic should not drive whether or not you become involved in this new world. It should only drive where you become involved and how you best communicate in those areas. Social media is not a fad – it’s the new way to communicate.
  3. How do you know when you’re doing a great job in the social media world? When you are no longer in control of the content. It’s no longer the job of the marketer to tell the customer what to think (yes, if you think about it that is exactly how push or interruption marketing works). It’s now the marketers job to start a conversation and let the community decide where the conversation is going to go. It’s the essence of letting the customer drive the product. When done right it you will create a tribe.
  4. You must be outrageous! If you don’t have something to say that tugs on the heart strings of your audience and makes them want to “get involved” then you don’t have anything to say that is worth saying. Bland corporate messaging doesn’t work in this world.
  5. Don’t be perfect. Looking to polished and “on your game” can actually hurt you here. Your audience wants to see a little dirt. They want to feel like they’re on the journey with you and that you have some experiences that just might help them on their journey. Does anyone like the know-it-all in real life – nope. Did you see the first line of this e-mail? Were you thinking to yourself “ya, me too; maybe this is worth taking a look at”. It’s the same when building conversations online.
  6. Adjust. Having solid enough processes in the business that perform with a great deal of flow and a lack of waste will give you the ability to adjust with your customers. If you don’t make changes based on the conversations you created – then what’s the point of them conversing with you?

I would also strongly recommend “Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz” by David Seaman. As a final note; think about how you make friends in real life! Don’t push your message; Get good at staring interesting conversations; be vulnerable; LISTEN; and really spend time with them. What friend wants to think – gee, I haven’t heard from so-and-so in a month; I wonder if they still care?

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