Rethinking social media marketing #SMSS13

Today is the first day of the Social Media Success Summit — the biggest online summit of its kind in the world, and I’m attending.

There are more than 3000 participants signed-up from around the globe, and it runs for a 11 days throughout October. I’m ‘attending’ in the sense that I am signed up, paid up, and logged in here in New York — but there are no conference venues with early-90s decor, dry biscuits, weak coffee or queues for lunch — because naturally this is all taking place online.

So some quick notes about today’s first session: ‘Think again: Why you need to rethink your social media marketing’. The session was presented by Jay Baer, and I thought it was very good. Jay is an American author and marketing consultant, and generally expert on all things social media.

Among many interesting things Jay had to say, there are three points I’m going to quickly share as I think they are especially important to be aware/reminded of:

Customer service

Unlike the old ‘we will get back to you in 3/5/10/30 days’ line that many organisations have when responding to customer queries, when it comes to social media, you have to respond to everything, and faster than you think. Social media isn’t necessarily a participant sport, it is really a spectator sport — there might just be one participant who has asked a question or made a complaint publicly, but there will be dozens, hundreds, thousands of spectators watching and waiting to see the response. This was especially the case for the recent British Airways traveller who lost luggage and was unhappy with the service — he made mention on Twitter and paid to promote the mention, and thousands on Twitter logged in and watched.

A recent survey by Edison Research, it was found that 42 per cent of people who have complained on social media expect a response within 60 minutes.

Main takeaway — Customers are customers whether they are on social media, or appearing at your office, and they expect a lot. Are you prepared?

Strategy before tools

When it comes to social media, ‘help beats hype’ and good content, useful content that creates a positive experience, will always beat content that aims to ‘sell’. Jay says it social media is ‘about the wizard, and not the wand’ — don’t get caught up in buying social media software only to have poor content and knowledge. ‘Who’ is running the social media you have is what makes the difference.

If you decide to (or have to due to managerial expectation) invest in software, ask yourself what process are you trying to manage; who will use it; what approvals and data will be needed.

Main takeaway — Don’t find reasons to use software. Don’t be led by software — be led by strategy.

Content driven

Content and social media work together and they are not separate  entities. Use social media to drive awareness of content — not company name — and make the content about products and services. And don’t just communicate about yourself or your company — think big and cover themes and topics outside of the business.

Main takeaway — Be interesting; be aware of the world around you. 

There are plenty of great experts scheduled for the summit, so I’ll share more about them in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, if you are a Twitter user, you can follow along or look at what has already happened using #SMSS13.

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