With blogs, forums, social networks having an open architecture to almost anyone being able to join them and start marketing right off the bat, does it mean that Joe Schmoe can be as effective as the most savvy social marketers out there? Maybe not.
It’s just like the movie “Lost in Translation” by auteur Sofia Coppola. Just because you’re in Japan doesn’t make you a part of the community. Just because you can use a service like Michael Streko’s Knowem to landgrab your brand on every social marketing platform out there doesn’t make you a social marketing maven.
Consider the following failpoints in most marketing campaigns:
- Establishing a connection: Just because Facebook or Twitter allows you to either follow someone, or send an invite to become someone’s friend doesn’t mean I can mind read you and fathom your intentions. In his book “The Long Tail”, Chris Anderson talks about moving out of the information age (where facts and knowledge rule the roost), to the age of relevance (where filters and establishing context helps makes the millions of possible relationships and connections make sense). In a world of a million friends (on twitter) (or maybe 5,000 friends on Facebook), being able to establish the context for your relationship is a good starting point. I almost always insert a comment like “met at affiliate summit” or “wickedfire forum” or “we killed orcs together last night” as a social lubricant. On the receivers side, I use these contextual clues to filter friends into different lists/baskets on the social network. And no, “we have a lot of common friends and I thought we should be friends” is a pretty feeble excuse – it’s just like saying “oh well, everyone else is dancing, I’m here alone, so would you like to dance?”.
- Followup/Relationship build: So once you’ve established a connection, why do so many (I estimate 80%) of marketers do nothing – let the lead grow cold and die. It’s entirely a wasted effort in my view. There has to be some follow up, else why bother starting this in the first place. Whether you’re using a Google Docs spreadsheet or Excel, keep records of your interaction. Do you have some type of fixed or informal schedule for making contact? If someone mentions something interesting/relevant, are you taking copious notes – whether it’s the fact that they primarily use PPC as a traffic gen mechanism, or if they like double-chocolate cookie dough ice-cream? Information is an important form of social currency in my book, and if someone has taken time to share something useful with you and you’re not doing anything with it, you might as well throw it down the gutter.
- Social equity: Are you consciously making deposits into your social goodwill bank? More importantly, are you giving before you take? Besides the law of reciprocity (where people who receive feel an innate desire to give back), being labelled a “taker” doesn’t do you or your online rep any favors. That’s one reason why affiliate networks like Market Leverage, Convert2Media, TriFoxMedia, EagleWebAssets are a pleasure to work with – they’re giving – whether information, products or other forms of swag – to establish the relationship on a solid footing. This is in contrast to some other networks which will bug you over email, IM and the value they’re offering is not stated or an unknown. Given the choice between something which is totally random and something that’s relatively certain, it’ll take quite a bit of momentum to jump into the unknown.
Bottomline: If you don’t have a gameplan when it comes to the social media game, and if you’re not focused or invested in what you’re doing, there’s a high probability that your efforts are going to get lost in translation.