My Social Media Marketing Cheat Sheet.


Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding social media marketing and I noticed I always ramble on like a 6-year old hooked on caffeine.  This time around I thought I’d organize (as best as I can) my thoughts on the matter and put it in writing so the next time someone asks me something, I’ll have this “cheat” sheet ready to refer to.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the term social media marketing or SMM for short.  But for the sake of conversation, let’s assume you don’t know what that is.

SMM, as defined by Wikipedia is a term that describes the use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service.  Hmm, well I guess that’s sort of the geeky way of putting it.

I also like to think of SMM as an open form of communication.  In layman’s terms, I feel it’s closely related to word-of-mouth marketing but definitely ACCELERATED and AMPLIFIED to the nth degree.  Check out the visuals using my sublime art skills.

Word-of-mouth marketing in it’s textbook form.

Word-of-mouth marketing on steriods through social media networks.

Here are a few of my observations and thoughts on SMM based on my experience working with corporate clients and smaller businesses.  Please feel free to chime in if I’ve missed anything or you think otherwise.  I’m always open to feedback.

Gone are the days when companies had a website and consumers were forced to digest whatever they had to say on their site.  Consumers are not only looking to see if they have a “.com,” but if they have a presence on the social media networks as well.

It’s no bean stock, but social media platforms are growing faster than you can say “Twitter.”  In fact according to Quantcast,  Twitter had a little over 20-million users in the US on 12/1/09.  That number as of 11/25/10 has grown to just under 80-million US users.  Between that same time period, Facebook grew from just under 90-million US users to about 130-million US users.  Imagine what that number is worldwide!

Nielsen reports the fastest growing member community destinations in February 2009 after one year were:
1.  Twitter – 1382% growth
2.  Zimbio – 240%
3.  Facebook – 228%
4.  Multiply – 192%
5.  Wikia – 172%

As a business, wouldn’t you want to be on the same platform where millions of users already are?  It’s both convenient for them as it is for you in reaching them.

All or nothing. Like a marriage, Social Media Marketing is most effective when a company is committed to it.  They either give it their all or I’d advise them not to bother.  Here’s why:  I’ve seen many companies make the mistake of signing up for Twitter and Facebook to follow along with the social media trend.  However, they aren’t very active on these mediums and end up ignoring consumers which actually does them more harm then good.

You better talk to me or else. If companies sign up for such social networks as Twitter and Facebook they had better realize that they will be opening a door to many consumer questions and criticism.  It’s very important to be responsive….to both.  Nothing is worse than an irate customer on social media who feels they are ignored…bad things can happen 😛

Are you ignoring me!! *rawr*

Content is still king. Remember when you use to hear that?  A lot?  It was normally an answer to the question:  How do you drive traffic to your website?  Well, it hasn’t changed, but it has evolved to include social media marketing.  Consumers won’t go where you direct them unless you are giving them something of value.

A few weeks ago a coupon site called LivingSocial had a special deal, buy $10 in credits and get $20.  In 24 hours, the site sold over 1.3 million vouchers and netted Amazon and LivingSocial over 13-million dollars.  To-date it has been the most successful online campaign in terms of gross revenue.

Visual. Speaking of content, just want to remind you all that human beings by nature, tend to be visual creatures.  So things like pictures and video tend to draw more users than if you were to ask them to read “War & Peace.”  Why do you think YouTube is so successful?

Yo, where you at? People are now more willing to share where they are or where they were on such networks as FourSqaure, Facebook Places, GoWala and Yelp.  Businesses and establishments now have even more opportunity to provide instant value for their consumers, especially the ones who are physically at their location.

Say what? I often find that many people who don’t say much about someone or something IRL (in-real-life) won’t have any problem expressing their opinions online.

Creating a culture. Zappos, Sprint and Amazon are just a few of the companies that have created a corporate culture that encourages their employees to participate in social networks.  By doing so they are vested in the brand and they in turn also become brand ambassadors. I’ve noticed that many of these employees are on their own personal social sites, endorse the company, help out consumers with any questions and even communicate with other employees through these venues illustrating the harmony within the company.

Who you gonna call? Traditional advertising no longer has “just” a phone number and website call-to-action.  You’ll often see a social media link tied in to a company’s print, radio or TV ad.

Shopping habits of today’s consumer. Consumers are smart shoppers.  With the growing number of them becoming more and more tech savvy, they look for feedback on products and services from other shoppers and/or experts in these areas.  In fact, according to this recent article, consumers are starting to trust “experts” more than they would their friends or online peers.  As a company who uses SSM, it’s important to understand and involve themselves in this shift of the purchasing process.  Hear what these experts have to say on your product/service, they can help you improve on any areas you may be lacking.

Social Media Myths:
MYTH:  Social media is free.
According to research by PearAnalytics, while the media may be free, the marketer’s time is not.  The average marketer who spends 4-7 hours per day on social media activities is earning over $130,000 per year…(Jesus, definitely not in Hawaii).

MYTH:  Only young people are using social media.
While more young people are consuming social media, the good content actually is produced by the older, more experienced social media marketers.

MYTH: Elvis is dead.
Who knows and this has nothing to do with social media marketing.  Just making sure you’re up.

MYTH: Social Media should replace traditional means of advertising.
This is one of the bigger mistakes I see some companies making.  Although social media is definitely the “in” thing and growing exponentially, there is still a huge market for those who don’t involve themselves in this realm.  By cutting your traditional advertising, you are essentially cutting yourself off from any communication with this audience.  The most successful campaigns are those that involve a mixture of both traditional advertising and social media.

MYTH:  We don’t have time for social media, let the intern do it.
Yes, do you really want your 20-year old intern handling customer complaints or informing consumers the benefits of your products?  I’m not saying it would be a bad thing but I would suggest spreading the work out and letting the experts lead.  Let thought leaders lead thoughts, and customer service serve grumpy customers.

MYTH:  We don’t want to be on social media because it opens the door for complaints and criticism.
This may be true but you’re better off building trust among your consumers.  If you are willing to listen to what they have to say and make a better product or service, you’re actually helping yourself in the long run.  You also have a direct-line to the source of the problem which can be immediately addressed.  Better to take swift action and fix the problem than ignore it and watch sales decline over time.

People will complain on social media, it’s inevitable.  But instead of being defensive, go out there, listen to what they have to say and see if there’s a way you can solve the problem together.  There are a few stories I’ve heard about customers having  bad experiences with food establishments.  In one particular version, a couple tweeted something to the effect of “At _____ still waiting to be served, been over 40 minutes, not a happy camper.”  The restaurant upon seeing this immediately responded with an apology and a few freebies…..while the couple was still at the restaurant!  The restaurant turned a potential disaster into a positive experience.  The couple, instead of ranting about how terrible the restaurant’s service was were now telling friends what a great experience they had at the establishment.

Well that’s about it for now.  I’m pretty exhausted so give me some feedback when you have a chance.  Hopefully you got through all of this.  I’m sorry if I exhausted you too!

6 responses to this post.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by WaialuaDaKine and Brandon S, okletsgetsocial. okletsgetsocial said: RT @WeHeartHawaii: Social media cheat sheet, what's yours look like? […]


  2. Posted by nanigurl on January 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I agree in that if a company is going to have a presence on Twitter or FB, they should have a policy of responding to complaints/comments/questions in a timely fashion. It’s irritating when companies use these outlets as a one way street. They cannot have their cake and eat it too.


  3. You put a lot of effort into this post. It is very informative and should help those new to Social media..


  4. Thanks B! Now tell me when a # is used and when a @ is used. Then explain the Klout in easy english for us old guys.



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