How to get started with social media marketing


The social landscape from gregverdino.com

The best social media marketing strategy is to have a brand, product or service worth talking about. Let me stop there and let that sink in…

Lots of marketers and agencies are trying to crack the code to social media marketing. Take for example, Wendy’s Smart character (a.k.a the square hamburger) on Myspace.com with almost 40,000 friends or the folks from Kleenex and their Let it Out (TM) campaign and online community that has users submitting their own video stories filled with emotion. These are two very different approaches from Wendy’s use of exiting networks with very little campaign integration to Kleenex’s  approach with an integrated campaign and building their own community separate from more mainstream options like Facebook, YouTube, or MySpace.

So, who is doing this well? Dell has been touted as using the web and social media to turn their image around. Apple and Google have so many blog hits that they probably can stop advertising online… well if Google actually did advertise.

So what if you are not Dell, Apple or Google… what can you do to get started? Besides focusing on building the best brand, product or service, bloggers are probably the best place to start because they are the power influencers. Here are four steps:

  1. Identify your top 5% of customers that are power users or your highest engaged segment (if you can, identify if there are bloggers in this group, but do not single them out)
  2. Prepare for transparency and the need to take quick action including: changing your strategies, changing products, or apologizing if you find your company has done something this group does not agree with
  3. Now that you are prepped and know which segment to reach out to, treat this segment like the #1 media outlet that you would love to cover your business. This means giving them behind the scenes access, exclusive experiences, etc.
  4. LISTEN to them!

Finally, there is no guarantee that this approach will get you top billing on your blog of choice. You have first focused on building something worth talking about and now began to treat your most enaged customers in a special way. This has benefits well beyond social media exposure and if you are lucky you will get the exposure you are looking for.

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