My Opinions on “The 36 Rules of Social Media” (Two Months Later…)

This post has been a long time coming. Back in November, I came across this intriguing graphic from PRDaily: The 36 Rules of Social Media. If you haven’t seen it, take a look. While the graphic is a couple months old now, it is worth considering the points it makes. Here are five I thought deserved further discussion. (Although I would love to chat about any of them!)

#2. Stop and ask: Would an actual person talk that way?

For my own work, this is a big one. It is especially difficult because, as an organization, you need to be your brand while also speaking the way an actual person speaks; you must get rid of the “marketing speak” as one of my professors used to say often. The content I work with at my job is often centered around health topics, which can get very confusing very quickly. It is always important to put yourself in the place of your audience!

#3 Everyone says they don’t want to be marketed to. Really, they just don’t want to be talked down to.

This is a big one, not only for social media, but for marketing in general. It is the cornerstone of what modern, strategic marketing is about: Blindly blanketing everyone you can with your message is not likely to get you too far. Drilling down your services and offering them up to people who need them now or will soon in the future is likely to offer more success.

#11 Solve problems for people who talk about you, even if they don’t address you.

I agree with this one, although it often makes me feel like I am “creeping on people. For example, I currently use HootSuite to monitor Twitter mentions of a few important keywords in my geographic area. This means any time someone located within 15 miles of my business’s particular city, their tweet comes up in my feed, and I can view it there. This not only helps me to see when something related to my company’s industry occurs in the local area, but it also helps me to reach out to people who mention my company or have a need. I try not to be too obtrusive for fear of, as I mentioned, “creeping” people out. But because of this feed, I have offered sympathies, compliments or additional advice for a problem. Often there recipient does not respond, but occasionally the person reaches back with a thank you. Finding and engaging in two-way conversation is what social media is all about, and doing that openly is easy with Twitter, which I feel is often considered much less private than Facebook.

#25 The only way to scale word of mouth: Paid advertising.

For the most part, I agree with this statement. Paid advertising can boost engagement and awareness significantly. However, I don’t think it is the ONLY way. I think sometimes there are stories, businesses, people, etc., that are so amazing or so outrageous that they grow by themselves. They grow because of what they are. However, this growth is not the norm and there is no shame in receiving a push. If you aren’t able to get that crowd organically, paid advertising is a technique.

#33 Fans own your brand.

This is another fact that, in my opinion, goes much farther than social media. Branding 101 says that your brand is not defined simply by taglines and logos, although they help to build it. A brand is contained in the minds of those of a community. It’s what an employee thinks in the morning before entering work, and how he or she treats the client that greets him first thing. While we all say that companies own brands and a brand belongs to a company, a brand is actually something that is developed in the minds of the people it affects through the experiences or knowledge they have.

Do you agree with these rules of social media? Do you have something you would add to the list?

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Using measurement to increase social media’s effectiveness

You’ve heard it in the past: Before you use social media, you should have a purpose.

For businesses, the purpose is probably to build your brand, which will help your profits down the road. For individuals, the purpose might be to network professionally with others or to keep up with lives of distant friends and family members.

No matter why you use social media, you might wonder if you’re using it correctly or effectively. According to a MediaPost article, the vast majority of companies feel they aren’t using social media tools effectively.

The most remarkable finding: just 12% of the companies surveyed believed they were currently effective users of social media, meaning almost nine out of ten respondents relegated themselves to the “ineffective” pile.

In addition, research found 75 percent of respondents didn’t know where customers talked about their companies only and 31 percent said they don’t measure their social media tactics effectiveness. Only 23 percent said they use analytics tools.

Why might this be happening? Part of it could be time issues combined with people not understanding. Many businesses and individuals think just throwing content out on social media will help them achieve their goals.When they do that at nothing big happens, they think their work was ineffective, and probably was. If they don’t change, they’ll continue to be ineffective.

To succeed at social media, you have to bring something useful to your targeted audience. Then, you have to measure that something to see if it ended up being effective. You can then use the results from that measurement to improve future participation.

Here are a few sites I have used to measure my own personal brand and corporate brands:

What social media measurement tools and sites do you use?

Social Media: A Small Biz Alternative to Donating Money

The explosion of social media has made one thing clear: Giving is something that extends well beyond the holiday season.

While many companies push the love during the season of red and green, the most successful know to carry that giving feeling year round. They know giving will help their companies. In a press release posted Dec. 12, Will Marre, CEO of Realeadership Alliance, says companies that give are more likely to receive.

“When giving becomes an essential part of your culture, employees are inspired to create more value and consumers choose you.”

But what kind of giving? For huge, well-known corporations like Apple or Zappos, it’s easy to give a few thousand here, a few thousand there. But what about small businesses that can’t afford to give thousands and thousands?

Thanks to social media, small businesses can prove their desire to give and they can, in effect, increase what they’ll receive from current and potential customers.

Continue reading “Social Media: A Small Biz Alternative to Donating Money”