Social Media Best Practices

David Griner from the blog The Social Path posted today about what he thinks is are the "best practices" for social media marketing. In short he spoke about how we must be willing to drink the kool-aid - basically he said:
  1. Don't over promise or over-sell what social media can do for your clients. Do not sell overnight success.
  2. We’re talking to people one-on-one, trying to prove earnestly that we have more to offer than a sales pitch. Know your audience, know your stuff, and know your limitations. Mix all that together, sweeten it with some personality and wit, and I’ll be the first to knock back a glass and ask for a refill.
I agree but have a few thoughts about this important point that David spoke to:

Know your audience

    1. Understanding how your target uses social media (do they create content, engage with it, or just read it?) can help you determine the best way to approach them. Want to learn more... maybe take a look at the book Groundswell.
    2. Identify the challenges that your target faces. What can you deliver that will help your audience. (Why will they engage? What could be a positive outcome for them in regards to a social media experience?)
    3. What is your audiences perception of your brand? Are you trying to deliver something through social media that is a stretch for you brand in the eyes of your audience?
    4. What is your audiences current digital behaviour look like? Are you asking them to engage with something they are unfamiliar with or are you a year too late?
    5. How can you assist your audience in sharing what you are doing?
    6. When will your audience be engaging with social media? How does this impact the content? Impact when you update it? Impact what social media you select to include in your communications mix?
And then unrelated to know your audience but also important is to consider the impact on the user experience before you introduce new technologies, features or content.

Home Depot Canada using Twitter as a flyer (posting daily specials) shows me that they do not understand their audience. Maybe that is why they only have 50 followers (probably 10 from the marketing department and 5 from their agency).

If you have an intimate knowledge of your audience, stay within your brands personality (you don't change the brand just because it is in a different medium) and apply this knowledge accurately you will have a good chance at succeeding when you jump into the social media playground.

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