Fighting Social Media Fear

People who fear approaching people sometimes turn to photography. Similar fears are to me driving many marketers to an overload of graphs, reports and  monitoring solutions.

This is great but at this end of the day:

  • there is nothing social in you reading a graph
  • the sentiment towards a brand goes way beyond number of mention of your brand name.

Social media is scary and here are some tested tips on how to fight this fear:

– Education

This is step one. Companies  should just “give it a try”, create content, blogs, Facebook groups.  Select a few people in their marketing department and give them the time and tools to do it right.

There will be mistakes down the road but the learning is worth the trial.

You should also study best in class in your area and learn from people who have done it before. There are tons of success stories, and tons of good blogs on the topic ,  books, so ample opportunities to learn.

– Affirmation & Preparation

This is a critical piece.  You need to know who you want to engage with, for what purpose, for what expected results and you should  have a reasonable understanding about what you can contribute.

Let’s take  us (our company)  as an example, here is how we proceed:

  1. PURPOSE: Our objective is to raise our influence in the social media marketing community
  2. WHO: We have collected 1000+ relevant blogs along with tweets, diggs, youtube , Q&As… relevant for social media marketing and have organized the blogs by influence. That’s our target
  3. WHAT: We have identified a few topics where we believe we have something to say that’s of interest for our target community. As an example “Measuring Influence”, “Strategy and Positioning”, “Segmenting communities”. While reading we also identify other interesting topics to consider and even features for our own product.
  4. HOW: We, as a team, read – almost- everything written by the top influencers and we filter the conversations on other blogs about our key topics. We engage in these conversations, with a preference for engaging on “medium influential” blogs. We develop content in our blog about these topics.
  5. MEASURE: Our key metrics are the influence of our blog and the number of social media marketing bloggers with whom we have build a  relation ( exchanged emails, direct link in LinkedIn or Facebook – for the one that don’t do automatic acceptance). OK we can’t call them at 3 in the morning.
  6. SENTIMENT: we also track mentions of our company name in these blogs and twitter .. and do manual sentiment rating.
  7. TIME / INVESTMENT:  each member of the team contribute up to 1, 1 and 1/2 hour a day to this initiative.

Structuring this as a project ensures that this under control and that we stay focus on the objective.

So far our blog has moved up quite a bit ( from rank 700 to 190) and we do connect with influential bloggers, following up with demos, getting feedback and often good leads.

– Worst Case Scenario

Sometimes, looking at the worst case scenario can help fighting the fear. Well, the good news is that the worst case scenario already happened so there is nothing  more to fear.

While companies engage in sophisticated “monitoring”, “sentiment analysis” , 10’s , 100’s to 1000’s of their employees blog, tweet,  build social networks and engage in conversations that often are work related/expertise related.

I just worked for a major brand and  spotted posts like: ” I should not say that as I worked for their competitor but this  product rocks”  or  “this does not represent the view of my employer”… Sometimes it takes a few more clicks to get to someone Facebook profile and get similar information.

Times of top down controlled communications will not come back. The way out of chaos is for companies to organize the participation while keeping the personal touch. That in itself is a major challenge.

So,  “feel the fear and do it anyway”.  That’s what courage is all about !

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