Strategy Before Tactics: The Basics of Social Media

Many marketers are planning to incorporate social media into their mix this year. Tim Ho, an avid blogger and digital strategist at Ogilvy PR, has assembled a set of insights for people who are new to social media.

Before you take the social-media plunge, look at the slides below. Whether you’re a guru, an expert, or are new to the social Web, you’ll find some great observations about how to approach social media and the mindset necessary to be successful in the long run. As always, tactics follow strategy — a frequently overlooked fact that leads to poor results.

Key take-aways:

  • #4 Think about social-media channels as languages: They can be mastered easily but the content and value of the conversation is all it matters. In business, companies shouldn’t invest in social media for quick results. It’s a process to build relationships with potential clients and to maintain good relationships with existing customers.
  • #6 Common Mistake: Tactics before Strategy. Most brands (and many agencies) focus way too much on social media tactics, such as launching Facebook pages, engaging via Twitter, creating apps, and trying to create viral videos. Some might get lucky and create buzz, but it’s very risky to be too focused on tactics. Tactics should come last after building a solid foundation of brand image, personality, and engagement online.
  • #11 Why invest in social media if it’s just a “process” while there are other media like TV ads, magazine ads, and online ads that show quicker impact? Social media shouldn’t play a role in direct selling. It should instead influence viral conversations, build brand awareness, improve customer service, and engage with your target as a “friend”. When making purchase decisions, would you trust a friend or an advertisement?
  • #24 Don’t lie, don’t pretend — Be transparent. In social media, companies can no longer over-promise/be fake. Lies are discovered quickly and are spread a hundred times faster online. A brand can project a better image by being transparent and showing who they really are.
  • #25 Don’t be afraid to over-share. Share everything that might interest your targets, such as pictures of the office, live tweets during an event, videos, articles, and live streaming. It’s not the same as advertisements — people don’t get annoyed by your interesting/valuable brand-centric content.

What do you think? Do these insights ring true for you? How have you approached social media?

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What Top Brands Have Learned From Their Facebook Experience

At over 350 million users and growing, Facebook has clearly morphed from a fad into mature marketing platform. But many CMOs still scratch their heads, trying to research best practices and find case studies about how to successfully leverage Facebook for branding, marketing, customer service, etc.

Here’s a great presentation I found, created by Axon Alex, a digital planner at Tribal DDB. This deck offers a simple, concise look at some of the lessons learned last year by Fortune 500 companies as they reached out to their customers on Facebook.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • #1 More warmth. Less Spam. Users hate their walls being filled up by repeated posts from the page. There’s a clear line between Updates and Spam.
  • #4 Invite them to your world Stream live, post pictures of events and the office, free invites… However you want to do it, invite them to your world with exclusive content. Imagine yourself to be Willy Wonka, and your fans with golden tickets.
  • #10 If they complain, don’t hug them a month later. See that’s just weird. IF they have a gripe, talk to them instantly. You want a fan pissed off for over a week or just a day?
  • #11 Your fans are the best research team you have. They know your brand inside out. At least some of them would, so take their word for it and get it out of them. Build the fan page together, better your products or even discuss your next ad.
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