Continuing from my previous post on Jim Tobin’s Social Media is a Cocktail Party, I wanted to address a few other key learnings from various chapters throughout the book.
Jim rightfully devotes a chapter of his book to outlining the importance of the listening process. You wouldn’t run into a cocktail party yelling and screaming would you? Same rules apply with social media. You need to do your research, bounce around and monitor various conversations that are taking place before tactfully finding the right place to jump in. RSS should be your best friend and Google Reader is not a bad tool of choice for organizing your feeds.
Jim also focuses on the importance of companies being proactive with their approach to social media, identifying a key person that can quickly and tactfully provide real-time interaction with customers or address any negative feedback that comes their way in the blogosphere.
Building on David Mullen’s insight last week, Jim assesses the notion of viral marketing obsession – focusing specifically on how it falls upon us all to manage client expectations around “viral marketing.” First and foremost, there are basic similar components behind viral campaigns (easy to share, valuable to exchange, usually focused on utilizing humor, shock or empathy to deliver the message) and it can work (think Blendtec and Unilever Dove Campaign for Real Beauty). However, viral campaigns become viral for reasons completely outside of the marketer’s control because like all social media, the consumer is the one that ultimately determines what they like and don’t like.
In his final chapter, Jim addresses the oft-asked question of “How does one go about measuring social media?” He identifies five key steps for a company to effectively measure their social media marketing efforts.
1. Establish Social Media Objectives
Trying to drive traffic? Increase audience participation? Influence your brand image?
2. Review Baselines
Conduct a competitive analysis and create realistic baseline goals.
3. Develop Metrics for Success
Quantitative (blog comments, site visits, profile views, network expansion, etc.) and Qualitative (positive sentiment and feedback, audience participation, etc.) metrics.
4. Frequently Monitor and Report
Provide clients with monthly updates and tracking.
5. Tweak and Respond
Pay close attention to audience response and adjust as necessary.
My Final Take
First, go buy this book. It’s a quick, easy read and Jim offers some great detailed tips as well as overarching reminders about social media’s crucial role in helping facilitate conversation and interaction. Whether you’re working to get your own team up to speed or you’re trying to demonstrate to a client why social media should fit into their ’09 budget, it’s a solid read cover to cover.
Second, get involved. It’s one thing to try to consume a wealth of expert knowledge and store it away in your brain for later use. Such is not the case with social media. You NEED to get involved online to truly understand what’s going on and see how the Social Web works.
Last, as PR/Marketing/Social Media pros, we need to remember that our online success in bridging relationships is only going to result by teaching ourselves that it’s not about focusing on the “Me,” but rather effectively connecting with the “Them“ to create the “Us.”