. . . about effective social media marketing, and my five guidelines listed in the previous post:

Target your market/audience

Mike’s interview with Gina DeSantis said it well “ . . .  discover your niche market.”  In an article by Nellie Akalp that appeared earlier this year in the online magazine Mashable this theme is reinforced. She writes: “Social media has little to do with you; it’s all about your audience, customers, or whomever you’re trying to reach.”

Social Media for Small Businesses:  6 Effective Strategies

Engage your audience

Like artist Bob Peck says, “Be interesting and show your individuality.”  But, another important way of engaging your audience in social media, is to be interactive.  As the writer David Gutowski says, “The most effective people and brands on Twitter interact genuinely with their followers.”

Writing in Entrepeneur magazine in August of this year, Starr Hall puts the failure to connect interactively with customers as #1 in her top five list of social media marketing mistakes.  “If you are just talking to customers but not letting them to talk back and engage with you, then you are wasting considerable time and effort online.”

The Top Five Social Media Mistakes

Establish a personal connection

In responding to Mike’s question about the most important advantage of social media marketing over traditional marketing, Eva Lucien, MySpace manager for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, says it’s “Personal connection in real time. That’s what people seem to looking for with social media . . . a way to discuss info and interact with other people who share their interests.”

In a renowned and terrific 2009 SlideShare presentation, marketing executive Marta Kagan, Director, Brand & Buzz at HubSpot in Boston, underscores the point.  Pretty good at engaging the audience herself, she uses the adorable image of two conversing toddlers in slide 46, with the heading “You see, it’s supposed to be a dialogue, not a monologue.”  For the entire 83 slide presentation (this one takes up some RAM, and a few moments to load):

What The F**k Is Social Media one year later*

For more on this point, download Ohio Web Leaders presentation “Social Media in Business”, Dispelling the Myths and Fears of Using Social Media in Business and look for slide 3.

Keep it current

Per Mike’s interview with local entrepreneur Maggie, gourmet cupcake shop owner says about her shop’s Facebook page. “ . . . people flock to the site just to see what we have that day.” Emphasizing the importance of keeping the site fresh, she says “We use it daily to list our flavors, have contests periodically and let people know what is happening in our business!”

An article by Frank Marquardt, director of Content Strategy at The Barbarian Group, a digital services and creation company that Mashable ran this past January, reiterated the point.  In it, Mr. Marquardt states “Time your content.”  He clarifies:  “Make sure it’s relevant to where people are in their lives and the season. Nobody cares about Santa Claus in January, but a whole lot of people care about sales after Christmas.”

5 Key Tips for a Successful Social Media Content Strategy

Commit to doing it right

Finally, in Mike’s interview with Lou Tisler, who manages a non-profit organization in Cleveland, this point is made explicitly, and emphatically:  “Commit to it and don’t do it half a….”  In the same edgy, attention grabbing vein, Marta Kagan’s SlideShare presentation, mentioned above, quotes Google executive Avinash Kaushik on the very first slide:

Social media is like teen sex.  Everyone wants to do it.  Nobody knows how.  When it’s finally done there is surprise that it’s not better.

 What The F**k Is Social Media one year later*

Also on SlideShare, you can find this excellent presentation by the Dutch(?) social media expert Bart DeWaele (http://www.netlash.com/) that drives home the point with humor and wit:

7 harsh realities in Social Media