You know the old building adage -- measure twice, cut once. Well, the opposite is true with social marketing. Everything you build can be leveraged across many places. It's true -- the format for Twitter is different than your email nurture database. And Pinterest needs a more visual approach than LinkedIn. However, you can and should re-use content. In fact, the busiest marketing professionals I know do exactly that. So by now you're saying, "Duh! I'm in marketing; I reuse offers, teasers, and ads all the time." But I find it surprising how many marketing professionals plan for reuse in traditional channels, but approach social as a distinct effort. In fact, one of my frustrations is that most marketing automation and monitoring tools do a poor job of integrating social and non-social activities. So instead, manually make those worlds collide. Each week I take a look at my to-do list. I carefully evaluate what needs to get done, and I toss to the bottom of the list items that are only to be used once. I physically write down what can be connected.
Here is an example from my own recent work that shows social and non-social worlds can and should collide. In the example below, I was attending an industry conference hosted by IDC called "Directions 2012."
Before, during, and after the event I connected my physical and online worlds. I shared learning across channels including LinkedIn, my blog, Twitter, and even hallway and session meet-ups. Lesson learned: Forget the notion of "separate" disciplines of marketing. There is no social vs. traditional, there is only marketing. Plan to maximize integration.
I gave this tip to someone the other day, and I swear they looked at me like I had three ears and a nose the size of a bread stick. What? Lower your expectations? But social media is the nirvana of engagement with our peers, customers, and prospects. This is true, but social engagement is a process, not an event. When we expect instantaneous results, we disappoint ourselves and take focus off the outreach. Instead, set realistic goals and celebrate success. In the example above, my blog link was retweeted by two IDC analysts. One I knew, another I had never met before. Everything else aside, I considered that a win!
If I only looked at blog comments as a measure of my effort (something a lot of marketers measure in isolation), I'd be sorely disappointed. My blog in general doesn't get a lot of comments. However, I do get a fair amount of engagement on my blog posts via Facebook, Twitter, and often through email and in-person engagements. Would I like to see increased commenting activity on the blog itself? Sure, that is something I'd like to work toward. But is the lack of comments an indication the blog has no value? Absolutely not. I have lots of other ways to measure the role blogging plays in my career. Not everything we do is going to go "viral," and that's OK. Accept it, and instead focus on developing an audience over time. Small victories really do count.
There is a reason these communication channels are called social networks. People engage through networking because they enjoy spending time connecting with other individuals who share common interests. If you think of it only as "another to-do on my daily list," you're missing a tremendous opportunity to expand your world in new and exciting ways. Let yourself enjoy it by celebrating company wins, giving sneak peaks into your unique corporate culture, rallying around client causes, and showing your sense of humor. Trust me -- people want to know you, not just your company.
Social engagement is only going to grow in importance to the marketing profession. What other social habits will we learn? If you have other tips, let's start sharing!
Samantha Stone is the founder of The Marketing Advisory Network.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
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Nick, thanks for joining the converation. I find that scheduling often makes the biggest difference to people. Especially those that are new to social communication. Glad to hear it helps you too!
Definitely agree with you about scheduling time! I take 15-20 minutes each morning to check all my social profiles. It helps me keep from getting too bogged down but I still keep up with what's going on.
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