There is no doubt that social media offers excellent opportunities for marketing. However, what I have discovered, as with all other forms of marketing, is that there is a right and wrong way. In was in searching for the “right” way that I found an incredible webcast on The Secrets to Social Marketing Success which was produced by Powered, a social commerce company (Note: to view the webcast you will have to register basic info).
The first part of the webcast (it is approximately 39 minutes) presented five pitfalls to social media marketing. The first one dealt directly with the need for transparency (or the opposite in this case of being deceptive.) As a marketer, transparency is not something that comes natural “per se” – I mean is it really just a red car or a candy-red with 20 inch rims, 305 thunder-producing turbo with enough torque to dig your tires into asphalt on a hot sunny day? Seth Godin summed it up in his book well-titled, “All Marketers’ Are Liars.” According to an editorial review from Publisher’s Weekly on Amazon, Godin explains, “Because consumers prefer fantasy to the truth, the marketer’s duty is to be “authentic” rather than honest, to “live the lie, fully and completely” so that “all the details line up” – that is, to make their falsehoods convincing rather than transparent.” Yet for social media marketing, transparency, primarily telling your community who you are and what are your intentions, is critical unless a marketers prefers a backlash from the community.
Another pitfall that some marketers may fear is that social media is not meant to be an interruptive strategy. It actually takes time to build and cultivate community relationships. As the webcast eloquently stated, “[social media] is not your father’s TV.”
Another part of the webcast I found useful once the statement, “help consumers find, learn or do.” In my opinion, this statement explains exactly how to develop an effective social media campaign whether via a blog, social networking profile, or forum participation. Helping consumers “find, learn and do” creates a social environment of exchange.
The last of the pitfalls I recall also included a great statement to remember, “These are not your conversations. They belong to the participants.” In an open community, thee may be a leader but not a dictator. The marketer’s job is to listen not always being the one talking or shaping the conversation.
I highly recommend checking out the webcast if you are interested in social media marketing – the “right” way. If you manage or own an online community, I also recommend checking out a great blog I recently found at http://www.websocialarchitecture.com. It has excellent information.