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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Mainstream media not as negative as The People

As Americans approach the polls in less than 24 hours, many are just thankful that the circus will be over. In this election and others, many have complained about negative advertisements and media coverage. However, a recent Pew Internet study shows that individual Americans may be just as much to blame as the media. That’s because now that we, the people, have the power via social media to say anything and everything we want, we are being just as negative – or rather, more negative – than the media and candidates themselves.

Throughout this election cycle, I have heard numerous Facebook and Twitter friends complain about how annoying it is to see friends talking about politics via social networks. At first, my thought was that we should be proud and glad that we can speak our opinions regarding politics, whether in person, in print or online. In some places, speaking ill of leaders, whether in person or digitally, could result in harsh punishment. However, after doing some thinking and after seeing this study, I realized people are probably most frustrated with the negativity that is on our social networks rather than the actual political discussion. But we can’t shut off all discussion just because others want to ruin it. Instead, we need to look at ourselves, at the reasons why we use social networking sites and the people we are looking to reach through them.

For myself, I use social networking sites to communicate with friends, family, acquaintances and others. It is fun and laid-back, but that does not mean it should be rude, offensive or hurtful toward others. I am looking for honest, intelligent, and sometimes entertaining information and updates, and people looking for the same things are going to reach me.

It’s too late to change the discourse of the 2012 political campaign season. But perhaps for the next election, we can all be a little more civil online. We can have informed discussions  on politics — both online and in person — without being negative or hateful. We can agree to disagree, and we can agree that hatefulness is not the answer.

And we can realize that if we can’t be civil with our friends and acquaintances on social networking sites, how can we expect the media and the candidates to be civil during a campaign? It’s on us to do better next time.

With that being said, it’s time to go vote! No matter who you choose, it’s important to participate. We owe it to those who came before us and to those who do not have the same privilege we are able to enjoy.

Happy Election Day!

Social Gaming: Has it taken over Facebook?

I have been on Facebook since the summer of 2006, when I entered college, and had not been that interested in social gaming at until until just a few months ago.

I used to read the marketing articles talk about how popular Farmville was and how so many people played it, but I never did. I just found it as a nuisance.

That all changed when they added The Sims Social.

Since middle school, I have absolutely loved the Sims video game and that love grew with me as I entered high school, college and adult life (although, sadly, I’ve only had time to play a once or twice since graduating high school). Now, with The Sims Social on Facebook, I can play one of my favorite computer games with my friends. Granted, it is not the same. It obviously is not nearly as comprehensive as the software version.

However, as an adult with limited time to begin with, it is perfect. I curse the game when my energy runs out, but it forces me to do something else for a while, even if it’s just to switch over to Who Wants to Be A Millionaire (I made it to a million once!) or Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader (Yes, I am, thank you).

Despite my love of these games, at this point I refuse to spend my hard-earned money on the virtual goods offerings — the Sims Cash, the extra games of Millionaire, etc. Yet, I seem to be in the minority: The social gaming industry rakes in $8 billion annually and the virtual goods market is projected to reach more than $20 billion in a couple years.

This means it will likely continue to be a great place for marketers to observe and continue to join. Sure, some industries lend themselves easily to social gaming, namely video games, board games and game shows. However, think of the possibilities for other industries — maybe your company could event the first social gaming smash hit that outdoes even the classics!

To end this post, here are the games I play most often (1 being most often, 5 least often):

  1. The Sims Social
  2. Who Wants to Be A Millionaire
  3. Words with Friends
  4. Bejeweled Blitz
  5. Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

What social/Facebook games do you play the most?

 

 

Facebook Pages get more sociable

For me, Facebook just did a great job in getting me — and many other small businesses — to “Like” them a bit more by making it easier for page administrators but is it a change the average, individual Facebook user will embrace or “unlike?”

What has changed

Today, I logged on to the Facebook page I administer to find some important changes. Later I received an e-mail explaining the changes:

What the changes mean for me

While all the features will probably prove useful in the future, the one that struck me immediately was the ability to like and post on other pages. I manage my university career center’s Facebook page and being able to comment on other university departments’ pages will improve inter-departmental communication immensely and will also make our page more visible.

What the changes mean for individuals

While fan pages still cannot comment or like an individual’s wall or page, this gets close to that. Hopefully most organizations using Facebook understand the issues related to spamming its audiences, but those who don’t could cause issues on others’ pages. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future for sure.

I’m certainly excited to continue to experiment with this upgrade, and I would love to read feedback from others who administer pages.

What do you think of the change? For page administrators, what part or parts of the change do you see being most beneficial?

A Forward-Thinking Social Media History Lesson

The basic concept of social media is nothing new. We humans literally live for the interactions we have with each other.

However, what makes social media so exciting is how it allows people to keep in contact with so many others in so little time, comparatively. Yes, maintaining social media does take lots and lots of time. But think about how much time it would have taken before then? Think about how challenging it was to keep up with family members and friends and customers and business partners before the internet, let alone social media.

The social media technology advances soared exponentially throughout the year. To prove it, I wanted to show an intriguing infographic from OnlineSchools.org. (Note: I originally found this infographic on Mashable.)

The power of human intellect and technological ability to grow so exponentially really just baffles my mind. Now more than ever, we truly live in a constantly moving and changing world. So exciting! What do you find most exciting about today’s new communication technologies, specifically social media tools?

Getting Started: Your Purpose and Your Engagement Level

Before joining any social media sites, people or organizations must ask themselves two main questions.

What is my main purpose for using social media?

Always have a reason for doing something. Don’t do it just to do it or just because everyone else is doing it.

Individual people have it easy. They are often on Facebook or Twitter or some other site to meet new friends with similar interests, be entertained, re-connect with old friends, stay updated on family members and friends, etc. But organizations small and large must do a bit more “soul-searching” before joining a social media site.

An article on emarketer.com recently shared survey results that explain why certain businesses use social media sites.

Lervaging Social Media

These are some reasons U.S. companies use social media, with increasing awareness and interaction (building relationships) topping the list. Whether you’re a huge corporation or a single individual, the building relationship component is essential. That’s where the “social” in “social media” evolved from — building relationships both online and off. Continue reading “Getting Started: Your Purpose and Your Engagement Level”