Social Marketing

This form of marketing changes quicker than any other form of marketing, mainly because social marketing relies heavily on sociology and psychology, as well as, technology. Social marketing can be one of the most effective ways to increase sales, and compared to other forms of marketing, this is something voice talent can have a bit more fun with. The root of this marketing is being ‘social’, and voice talent are social creatures by nature. We love to talk! What can never be lost in this talking…the social aspect. Social marketing is ‘give and take’. It is NOT ‘selling’, and it is not egocentric. It is the process of ‘talking about something to find like-minded individuals to work with.’ Therefore, even though we know we do it to achieve work, it is interesting that we must never appear too ‘selly’ or ‘marketish’ in social marketing.  Take an example of something I did at my job last year.

Back in January 2010, voice talent approached me and asked for a type of ‘art gallery’ that would display work from voice talent booked on Voice123. It sounded like a great idea, so I made a Youtube page for voice talent, and many people wanted to jump on it, too. That was fine. I enjoyed it.  Now, does it market Voice123, voice talent, and the jobs booked on the site? Yes, but the main reason it was done was for social reasons. I was looking for a way to create a type of ‘voice over art gallery’ that would show off voice talent, and give people working examples of how professional voice over jobs look and sound. It was completely an effort of being social on my own that I did somewhat as a favor, and as an expression to give back to people. If I had tried to “sell the idea”, it would have failed. Does it mean the intention is lost? No, not at all. The intention to help was there. Beyond creating this page, to keep it socially effective, of course it required maintenance. If it was not maintained, it would then appear I did not care; a very anti-social reaction. Main point: Social marketing requires a form of customer service whereby you have to be there to answer questions. No one likes to be ignored.

The most common form of social marketing is done through tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Although Google+ is new on the scene, it has not generated the same quantity of users compared to the others. How social media is used is defined by trends that people create, so it is not easy to predict if it will be affective. The deal is though…you have to use every tool differently, and they cannot serve as tunnels to other forms of social marketing. If someone follows you on a specific social network, that is where they wish to communicate. Socially speaking, you would not ask someone to meet you for dinner at a restaurant, just to tell them, ‘Ok, lets go to this new restaurant, where I wanted to in the first place.’, and you would not say to someone on Twitter, ‘Follow me on Facebook’. Well, you could…only if you gave them a social reason to do so. Important to recognize in social marketing: You are building a community around what you say and do. Whether you work for a company, or work for yourself, social marketing is a great way to build a following for your business, so you had better understand what your brand is, while you are communicating. I have noticed that the social tool one pays the most attention to … is the one that ends up being the most effective. You can manage to pay attention to all of them through tools like Tweetdeck or other mobile apps and add-ons from your web browser. My computer often feels like Times Square, where I worked for 7 years, and socially speaking there is a common thread:

  • Many people say many things all at the same time, but it is not until you engage in a conversation with a person over an interest you both have in common, that these tools start to become effective. Engaging in conversation is the most effective way for social marketing to work for you because each time you ‘say something’, you market who you are as a business and a person.

When it comes to the top social marketing tools, I am only touching on what is commonly used by voice talent. The one thing that must be there always is “knowing how the software works, and why each person uses it”. Giving you a list of things to never do would be a waste of time because social marketing changes all the time. Twitter has become a powerful business tool, but in its early stages, it was inundated with tweets like ‘Mmm…love chocolate ice cream’ or ‘deep thought tweets’ that no one really cared about. Today, you have to know why each tool was created, what it is currently being used for, and how NOT to use it. For example, using terminology for Twitter while communicating on Facebook can make usage of Facebook ineffective. Depending on the tool, people may use a specific tool for specific reasons such as:

    • Twitter: Sharing info quickly, and not saying much.
    • Twitter hashtags: Following specific discussion topics. I follow #CM, for example, hashtag for community managers, who are social marketing gurus.
    • Facebook: Great place to share media, and talk more about it
    • Facebook groups: Great place for support and speaking to colleagues privately.
    • Foursquare: Great place to market…going mobile.
    • Meetup: Great place to start meetups offline to meet people face to face. Perhaps it is the ‘offline networking’ of social marketing online.
    • Linkedin: Great place for industry discussions, and looking for work.
    • Blogger/Wordpress: Great place for writing about what you do, who you are, and offering info to people to gain readership. Tell others who blog, that you blog, and they may blog back about you.
    • If you want to know about Google+, right now 25 million people are using it and it is mostly those who are tech savvy. One should get into it just to see what is going on, but there is no substantial proof yet that it will overtake any other form of social media. An indication the scale has tipped in Google’s favor is when friends you consider to be “laggards” start saying, “I cannot believe you dont use Google+!”. Laggards are folks who stop using a product because it is either not made anymore, or they cannot find anyone else who still uses it. They are also kicking serious butt in the SEO dept. Simple things like this: Find us on Google+

Can do wonders for you!

Mistakes I have seen (and regrettably made myself at times) in social marketing, so that you may avoid them:

  • Starting heated discussions and arguments. You do not want this showing up in Google searches. You had a bad day, so don’t let it haunt you for years.
  • Sharing thoughts or ideas that may be the opposite of what you are trying to achieve with your business account. For example, using a social account that is meant for business to talk about personal events like a wedding anniversary.
  • Using perceived terminology of that brand of social marketing, but not the actual terminology. Such a thing may confuse those you talk to in social marketing. It is great to be creative and unique, but you have to think of the people using the marketing tool. Will they know what you mean?
  • Making jokes on sensitive topics: It goes over like a balloon animal at a funeral. It may even cost you a job.
  • “No spam. Spam bad.”

I do believe social marketing does involve a level of experimenting, and at first, every idea sounds crazy. When you experiment, just be sure to do it based on research; not what you feel in that moment. A few years ago in NYC, some of our staff had the chance to meet the founders of Foursquare.com at a meeting with many different software developers. This was before people knew about it. When they presented their ideas, I still remember some grumblings of, “Badges? What is this? The boyscouts?”. Well….needless to say….you never know until something takes on a life of its own. That is important to recognize: “You can only make new  rules after you learn current rules that are already in practice.” Take these tips from social marketing guru, Chris Brogan, as a guide for 2011:

  • INNOVATE – Ideas are plentiful.  But which ideas are truly innovative? Which really moves the ball forward?
  • IMPLEMENT – All the innovative ideas in the world are meaningless without effective implementation.
  • AMPLIFY – How can we make the most out of each action?  How can we share it with others and encourage them to help spread the word?

I have seen things change so quickly in the past four years, that being able to roll with changes in social marketing does require re-evaluating efforts every six months. It is not easy, but it is important to stay relevant in online content. If you want to make sure you socially market effectively, be your own community manager and set up a distribution plan of your content. This is one I use from work:

  1. Write/create the content
  2. Share using boxes, much like you see at the bottom of the page. (tweet, post, share)
  3. Engage almost immediately when you see comments coming in.
  4. Write follow-ups or create surveys based on the content in comments.
  5. Repeat the above steps as many times as possible. As you can imagine, this involves heavy content creation.

Above all, let people own what they think of what they just read. This process is “social”, even if you talk about yourself.

NEXT: CHAPTER 5 – GETTING PAID

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