in About.com Guide makes some good points to bear in mind about your social media marketing. The key takeaway: interact.

Social media is about interaction

There’s no quick win: When you interact, you create relationships, and it is by creating these relationships that there arise opportunities to share your products and services. Laura writes:
This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, consistency, and a genuine interest in the creation and nurturing of those relationships. If you aren’t willing to do that, then hire a consultant that will do it for you; and if you aren’t willing to do that, then don’t do it at all.

Planting the Seed

Since Social Media is about building recognition, reputation and credibility, if you do it badly, you will destroy your reputation within the social media realm.
Social media is about conversation – pull vs. push – but, as marketers, concerned with results, this goes against our grain. We don’t like to be passive, but want to force results. But, even though we can’t force results, we can proactively create the conditions for our efforts to bear fruit, and retroactively measure the results.
Plant the seeds: Social Media can be likened to a tree: We need to plant the seeds, and provide conditions for the birds (our followers and influencers) to spread those seeds far and wide. Then, our marketing efforts will bear fruit.
Nurture: Our Social presence has to grow and spread naturally and organically. The fertile ground to attract a community of followers to spread our brand affinity virally is an environment in which interaction thrives.  This requires a consistent presence, monitoring and responsiveness. It takes work and it isn’t always immediately measurable in conversions, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t measurable.

5 Social Media Don’ts

Laura Lake reminds us of 5 Social Media Don’ts. What they really say is: interact!

  1. It’s Not All About You – Interact!  Get to know others; don’t just try to sell and promote your products. It won’t work.
  2. Spamming is Not OK: It’s true that spamming is becoming a problem in the social media networks, and we are being required to weed through it, just like we do in our email inboxes. Don’t spam followers; if they didn’t ask for it, don’t send it. It’s that simple! Permission marketing is key.
  3. Inconsistency will lead to failure. You must be consistent when it comes to using social media. Participating once a month or once a week just won’t get the results you desire.
  4. Don’t Be a Social Media Snob. Obviously social marketing is about being social; be willing to learn from others, and this isn’t just about others in your industry.
  5. Want Followers?  You Will Have to be a Follower. Just like you can’t open a storefront and think that customers will just show up, you cannot sign up and start off in social media thinking everyone is just going to come and follow you. You must be a follower. Social marketing isn’t about flying solo, participate.
As with any marketing strategy, you must implement the core pieces for it to work:
  • Find the right social media marketing vehicles that will work for you and your industry.
  • Design campaigns that will present you with the results that you desire.
  • While it is a low to no-cost marketing option, you need to invest time.
  • If you are not willing to spend the time, select another marketing option or outsource your social media marketing.
  • Define your goals clearly and measure success.

Define Your Goals Realistically

Many companies measure the success of online advertising, search marketing, online branding, or social media simply by the increase in web traffic versus their usual traffic volume. According to reactorr.com, here are some of the goals you might pursue:
Search Engine Rankings – when your SEO strategy is moving in the right direction, you should see your site improve in the search results pages (SERPs) for predetermined phrases that you have chosen to pursue. The end result is an increase in both web traffic and leads.
Online Branding Results – An online branding strategy includes an SEO component,  internet marketing and social media tactics to develop your online brand essence and assist with online reputation management. Results include:
  • Top of mind awareness with your brand through advertising online within the right circles.
  • Improved rankings showing your website is becoming synonymous with certain searched phrases.
  • An increase in mentions on other websites, hopefully positive.
Increased Sales – SEO can drive leads to your site, and if you’ve optimized for conversion, those leads should result in an increase in sales. If you’re running a pay per click (PPC) campain, then leads makes sense as a metric. In a social media or SEO campaign, more suitable metrics might be followers or ranking.
Snap! principle of Social Media interaction:
Plant the seeds and nurture measurable results.
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