in Social media

A CEO’s guide to Social Media Marketing

Facebook, Ning, Digg, Youtube, MySpace… these are all websites that you or your customers probably have used in the past, either to find old friends, to share ideas, or perhaps you’ve heard about how raving fans have promoted a product/brand for free in a spoof advert on Youtube?

So, you’re probably wondering what is social media/marketing/optimisation? Why bother? What does it all mean? And how can you/your business get involved?

I believe social media/marketing/optimisation to be:

the ability to actively allow people/customers/participants to connect, interact, promote, & share

Popular websites such as Youtube, MySpace, Facebook, Digg, etc are all user-generated. That is, your customers/users provide the content. They share it, they connect, debate and interact with it.

This also includes the use of blog, forums, social bookmarking tools; all these things really are about the ability to allow people to talk, share, contribute and be involved.

One thing I’ve noticed is that if you get it right, then getting people involved can generate more interest/brand awareness.

A typical example is The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments

You may have seen the clip on Youtube where a bunch of guys put mints into Diet Coke, resulting in a frothy fountain of diet coke that was visually stunning.

The clip brought fame to the guys involved, but it also improved brand awareness of Mentos mints for free. The company behind Diet Coke however weren’t too impressed as they felt the image of a frothy fountain of diet coke was inline with what they thought about their own brand.

Therefore, SMM/Social media means that your public is more in control of your brand. So, obviously you need to be careful about how the public sees your brand/product/service before unleashing it onto the social web.

Why bother with SMM/SMM/SMO?

  • The popular social sites have an powerful ability to provide exposure, visits and inbound links to your website/business.
  • Its popular with people.
  • People enjoy being involved
  • Its a direct link from buyer to seller, and vice-versa
  • It encourages debate, interaction, connection, promotion and sharing
  • People like/want authenticity, not media spin (although spin/buzz marketing still happens)
  • It gives people a chance to be involved
  • Its a powerful way to get your product/idea to market very quickly and if done correctly, generate buzz all around the world
  • Its a cheap way of getting traffic

A word of warning: social media marketing/optimisation should not be used underhandingly, or in a way that seems fake, unauthentic, unreal, untrustworthy or because you just want lost of backlinks/inbound links to your website. SMM should be released softly, tactically and with care.

Typically there are Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing

  1. Declaration of Identity
  2. Identity through Association
  3. User-initiated Conversation
  4. Provider-initiated Conversation
  5. In-Person Interaction

* Ref: Marketing Pilgrim

And there are 5 rules for Social Media Optimisation;

  1. Increase your linkability
  2. Make tagging and bookmarking easy
  3. Reward inbound links
  4. Help your content travel
  5. Encourage the mashup

* Ref: Rohit Bhargava

Can you make money from SMM/SMO?

Yes. If by money you mean drive traffic to your website.

SMM/SMO is still in its infancy, but that should not deter you however, I fundamentally believe that SMM/SMO should be used with due care and attention, and let your audience/fans do the marketing for you.

Failing to understand what SMM is, or how to use it properly could undermine your whole SMM efforts. So treat it with care and use it as a part of your overall marketing strategy.

How can you find out more?