15 Social Media Maxims for Marketers – My Comments

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Sharing and commenting is the “name of the game” in the Social Media World, so I’m re-distributing a great post I read Monday morning by Erik Qualman and including my own comments on each maxim.

Like the structure of a blog — where you read the most recent entry first — I’m starting with number 15:

15. The overall achievement of individuals and companies will be largely dependent on their social media success.

Genuine success usually comes to those who work, and work diligently. towards a worthwhile goal. Marketing on New Media, whether it is your personal brand — or a company brand — will not lead to overnight success. Even our new celebrities Susan Boyle and Adam Lambert paid “offline” dues taking lessons and performing in front of audiences before their meteoric rise to fame.

The Social Media are NOT a fad, folks. The sooner those who want to offer goods, services, and themselves to others, the sooner they need to discover the right platform(s) [i.e., Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Ning, LinkedIn, etc.] to reach the right people and then get “out there” and Do It.

Online search has revolutionized the way we hire — and get hired

14. The information exchanged in social media in relation to job searching and recruiting has rendered it unrecognizable from the information exchanged 10 years ago. Appropriate matches between employer and employee have increased as a result of an increased information flow.

My students at San Francisco State are learning this lesson on a daily basis. Those who’ve recently graduated know that so many new jobs require social media knowledge, experience, and skills. Plus prospective employers are checking LinkedIn pages for connections and endorsements and, even, personal blogs. Savvy employers are Googling prospects rather than spending much time with resumes.

And savvy job seekers, whether fresh out of college or fresh out of a job, are discovering a myriad of ways to research employers in even more depth than a company website. One great “trick” is going on LinkedIn, clicking the “Company” link on the top menu board, selecting a company of interest [e.g., Microsoft] and checking out tons of information opportunities you couldn’t find anywhere else, like “former employees” who might be able to offer great strategies for landing a job or avoiding pitfalls.

Engage in conversations that are already going on

13. If you’re a large brand, you can rest assured that there are conversations, pages, and applications constantly being developed around your brand and by the community at large. The social community is “doing” social media even if your company chooses not to.

THIS IS HUGE, especially for HUGE companies. We know that none of us can “control the message” online. I’m reminded of a student who was blasted on Yelp because a bank customer blamed her personally for his frustrations. She came to me crying because every time anyone Googled her, this nasty Yelp comment was the first thing they saw. We’ve learned that there’s no technology to erase bad comments; there’s even something called the Streisand Effect where companies have learned what happens when you try to.

What do you do instead? THIS IS EASY. You put your own good stuff online, and the nastiness is buried on page 54 of Google [or now the new soon-to-be popular search “Bing”]. As they say, the “cream rises to the top.”

12. Making multiple mistakes within social media is far better than doing nothing at all.

Picasso said, “I am always doing that which I do not know how to do in order to learn to do it.” An art instructor of mine once told the class that we all had 1,000 bad paintings in us, so we’d better get started to get those out of the way. An English professor once said that if we read everything written by Thomas Hardy, we would think he was just a hack, but it is his masterpieces that continue to be read, studied, and remembered.

11. Marketers’ jobs have changed from creating and pushing to one that requires listening, engaging, and reacting to potential and current customer needs.

For years we’ve heard that “The Customer is Always Right” but we haven’t really listened to them, and THAT is what is so powerful about online opportunities. When your customers have questions and concerns, you can shape your products and services to respond to real needs and wants RATHER THAN simply producing things and trying to manipulate people to want and acquire them.

“Content is key” is MORE than the message

10. Companies that produce great products and services rather than companies that simply rely on great messaging will be winners in a Socialnomic™ world. The social graph is the world’s largest and most powerful referral program.

Why have testimonials always been so sought after by marketers? Because people like to hear how wonderfully products and services have worked for others — and also when those products and services have NOT worked. The better mousetrap works well , people will use it, and so will their friends and neighbors.

Focusing on core strengths leads to leadership

9. Being “well-rounded” as a company or individual is less beneficial. It’s more productive to play to your core strength. This differentiates you from the competition.

Rarely is a jack-of-all-trades in the League of Superstars. We like doing what we do well: when we focus our efforts on our strengths, we build a trustworthy reputation and retain loyal followers.

8. The transparency and speed of information exchanged within social media mitigates casual schizophrenic behavior. Having a “work” personality and having a “party” personality will soon become extinct. People and companies will need to have one essence and be true to that essence.

Back “in the day” when I studied journalism, we were taught objectivity, i.e., keeping ourselves out of our stories. But just as the news”papers” themselves are disappearing, so is the way we’ve communicated with audiences. Neither preaching nor more subtle manipulation works anymore. What does is honesty, authenticity, sincerity, and friends helping friends.

Figure out which platforms work best for your community

7. The most successful social media and mobile applications are those that allow users to brag, compete, or look cool by passing it on.

Today’s social media landscape is burgeoning with a vast variety of platforms to share opinions, insights, and graphic contributions — the most useful will become the most popular, and the most popular will become the most powerful. Experimenting with many of them will help you figure out which are most likely to build your community of engaged customers, clients, and friends.

6. With the increasing popularity of e-books, there will be new digital media placement opportunities for brands. This is very similar to product placement in movies, only this is for books, and the placements are clickable and measurable.

A great feature of new technology is the opportunity to modernize the tried-and-true: longer stories and lessons are being published online in the form of e-books, which offer readers an additional layer of credibility but with the ultimate in ease-of-use. When businesses find appropriate ways to sponsor these applications, the ROI will be evident.

Fun and games is more than fun and games

5. Successful social media marketers will function more like entertainment companies, publishers, or party planners rather than as traditional advertisers.

Tradition in marketing has meant treating customers in an “impersonal” way that just won’t work anymore. As entertainment options increase — and our ability to discover and access them online grows — our expectations are necessitating new traditions. We audience members are putting ourselves “out there” with our likes and dislikes broadcast on Facebook, Twitter, etc. All of this will make it easier for “producers” to create appealing, targeted, winning communication strategies. As one commenter to Erik’s post put it, “Every company will be a media company.”

4. The old adage that you can only have two of these — cheap, quick, or quality — doesn’t hold true within social media. It’s possible to have all three.

We don’t have to pay to play, so the online world is accessible to all with an available computer. Information is readily obtainable and often in “real time.” Thus quality is never compromised because of cost or speed.

3. Social media’s ability to quickly disseminate information among friends and peers helps eliminate different people performing the same tasks (multiple individual redundancies), whether it’s researching the best vacation spot or smart phone. This results in a more efficient society.

No one likes wasting time, so online searching avoids the delay and frustration of waiting for postal delivery, a return phone call, or even getting past the button-pressing in a phone tree. Businesses can send personalized messages to a community — thus eliminating the waste of mass marketing and the expense of one-on-one promotion.

Quality goods and services lead to great word of mouth

2. Consumers are looking to peers for recommendations on products, services, health issues, and more via social media. Only companies that produce products and services of great value will be part of these conversations; mediocrity will quickly be eliminated.

Society as a whole will be improved as we help one another create and discover the highest quality products and services.

1. Successful marketers will be more like Dale Carnegie and less like David Ogilvy; listen first, sell second.

Everything in this revolutionary world of Social Media Marketing begins with improving (a) the way we listen to one another and (b) the means to do it.

Let’s re-visit #15 and more fully comprehend that business growth and success in the future will be tied to mastery of opportunities offered in our Brave New World of Social Media

Your turn for comments and additional maxims.

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   1 June 2009
Tags : , , , , , , , , , ,
Jun 2, 2009
4:06 pm
#1 Les Ross :

Liked the emphasis on “listening”…

Businesses that turn from “clever” presenters of mediocre product into “listeners” who make great products are the companies that will be in the forefront of tomorrow.


Jun 11, 2009
7:18 am
#2 equalman :

Love it – thanks for taking the article and expanding on it! Best, Erik Qualman

Jun 12, 2009
3:09 pm
#3 Louis Wang :

In the cover story of the new issue of TIME, they state that “Twitter is changing the way we live…”just like what you told us, Shari.

Jun 13, 2009
4:23 pm

Wow, that is a lot of useful info. One statement struck more than the rest:

“Having a “work” personality and having a “party” personality will soon become extinct. People and companies will need to have one essence and be true to that essence.”

I understand that companies as a whole will need to have one personality, but we as individuals will always have a work personality and a party personality. There’s just no way they both can forge into one and co-exist. World’s will collide!

Jun 16, 2009
12:18 am
#5 Max Lu :

Media is a powerful thing due to its massive coverage. People understand that it is much better to earn positive local headlines or news than just paid-for advertising. Some news and headlines offer free PR, which can be found on Google, announcing a firm as the best company to work for in the US. After that news, tons of new bright minds and free interns can be attracted to work for them.

Knowing how to make the right headlines is key. Advertising itself has become mundane and has lost its effectiveness as compared to a decade ago. After being bombarded with thousands of ads each day, people have build up an immune system to desensitize themselves to ads.

Jul 3, 2009
2:34 am
#6 Bernadette Tanguilig :

Service quality often extends beyond the immediate encounter because, after a transaction, it has an impact on a person’s future quality of life. These transactions then become stories and everyone loves a good story.

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