Lately I’ve had several people ask me about adding social media to their marketing mix. Here are my three essential rules for social media:

  1. It’s still marketing
  2. Expect conversations on difficult issues
  3. Regular updates  are key, so plan accordingly

It’s still marketing

Social media is new, exciting and sometimes intoxicating. Before you jump in remember, the fundamentals of marketing still apply. You must still be able to answer:

  • What is my goal or objective?
  • Who is my audience?
  • What message am I trying to convey?
  • What tactic is going to be most effective?

What can happen is that because it’s new and cool you think you need to join in.  However, just because Twitter is in the news right now doesn’t mean it’s a solution to your problems. Social media isn’t a case of “if you build it, they will come.” Start with the basics and look to see if social media tactics are right for your situation.

Expect conversations on difficult issues

Be prepared to talk about the weaknesses or difficult issues of your organization or product. Social media creates a town hall atmosphere where critics are certain to voice their opinions. It’s more productive to allow these opinions in an arena where you have a opportunity to respond than other forums simply where you have no voice.

Regular updates are key – plan accordingly

Unlike a new brochure, social media efforts will have a long life. People expect you to update them and respond to comments that they share. Creating a social media channel requires a time commitment. If you don’t update regularly, it will appear that your organization isn’t active and thriving. Your social media presence will affect how people view the quality and vibrancy of your organization in the same way your traditional marketing materials do.

Questions or comments? Leave them in the comments.

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