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Can Social Media Make Your Company Smarter?

Came from my new Social Media Marketing Revolution Feed.

You’ve started a fan page for your company on Facebook. You’ve attracted a few followers on Twitter. Seems you’ve got that whole social media thing figured out. Or do you?

Marty’s Social Media Makes You Smarter Note

Anything that provides feedback loops creates a learning opportunity, so yes Social CAN make you and your company “smarter”. Social media helps you know about what people think about what you do.

Since we live in a time when marketing is ABOUT what people think about what we do judged by their willingness to take some action (Retweet, Like, Link or Advocate) social media makes us smarter Internet marketers. More than what YOU think about what you do or did Social Media is about what THEY think about what you did.

Feedback loops should create an ever more intimate relationship between YOU and THEM and that is how, as Reuters Can Social Media Make Your Company Smarter points out, to use social media marketing to become “smarter”.

Here are some quick tips to make sure Social Media Marketing makes your company smarter:

  • Set up and watch 3 to 5 Key Performance Indicators such as number of followers, traffic from social and by what post and time on site from social traffic.
  • Test and probe social media with changes to topic, time of day and language. Seek to beat your “control” as much as that is possible where it can be hard to create apples to apples comparisons.
  • Expand your definition of “success” to include gains in important heuristics ont directly able to be traced back to social. In general, if you can’t understand what is causing something it is probably social.
  • Use the medical school approach: watch one, do one and TEACH one to really capture SMARTS from social media marketing.

When in doubt hire pros to coach and mentor you for six months then ween them down and out by the end of the first year. Hard, but not impossible, for others to curate your social media long term. In order for me to help you Tweet or post to Facebook I, or any consultant, needs to understand your business category almost better than you. In the short run the consultant’s social media marketing knowledge is more important than his or her industry knowledge. In the long run that equation is reversed, so set specific time frames and fire your consultants to part time after six months and altogether after a year (or when your campaigns are complete and you feel you know how to fish).

Any good social media marketing consultant expects to reach a point of diminishing returns and should suggest moving on to their next project. You pay social media consultants in cash and they learn new tricks and variations. Tricks and variations they will peddle to the next client. I look at any Internet marketing assignment as if my biggest challenge is sharing what I know as fast as possible.

I and we don’t mind being “fired” when the job is done, when our clients can almost out fish us. Actually, our clients should out fish us IN THEIR BUSINESS. For a little bit and on clear, cool days any consultant can learn enough about carpet cleaning, ERP or high tech weapons to be helpful. Good consultants help your company see things differently too, see things the way the are formed online. Because something is X in the world doesn’t mean it is so online.

Online is a different ecosystem with different skills and tensions. A lot of my favorite “tricks”, Internet marketing I saw not long after starting in 1999, are now known by the multitudes such as:

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Cause Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing

Large tribes live in all of those places now so I move on to topics and ideas that are less thick with competition such as:

  • Curation As The Next Web Revolution
  • Process As Product
  • Infinite Inventory
  • Agile Marketing

Not all of these “What’s Next” posts will pan out. I wrote about Infinite Inventory in 2008 and it hasn’t gained much steam as a meme, as a concept capable of walking around on its own. Lack of pick up usually means the idea isn’t formed in a sticky, easy to transfer way.

If your are an Internet marketer your job is to find the Next Big Thing moments before it blows up. This kind of task is a journey not a destination and the search is infinite. Even GREAT Internet marketers don’t expect to bat more than .400 (or 4 out of 10 winners). This puts you in the “junk bond” business. Try a bunch of stuff, refine the winners and drop the losers. Remember my Internet Marketing Secret: More and More, Faster and Faster, Better and Better and your social media efforts will make your company smarter, more aligned to your customers and capable of sustainable growth and profits.


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