The Turtle Ultimately Wins the Race

August 16th, 2010 by Gia Lyons Leave a reply »

Originally posted on SocialFresh.com.

This website has been making the social Web rounds lately. If one were to put each randomly created sentence on slides, one could probably charge for consulting services.

Hint: refresh the web page to get a new piece of advice.

And then a few days ago, my friend @sarahkayhoffman of Nike Human Race social media fame, and more recently, #HireHoff success, posted this gem:

Don’t be a One-Hit Wonder

Excerpt:

Many companies employ Social Media to promote an event, launch a new product, service and/or campaign or flat-out blast single promotions/hot items.

But what happens when the company employs it for just a few days, weeks or even 3-5 months prior and then drops it like a bad habit?

Congratulations! You’ve become a “One-Hit Wonder!”

Traditional marketers are still trying to understand “social”

Traditional marketing programs move from event to event, while sustaining the message in between (you more seasoned marketers are welcome to correct and clarify here, as I’m still a n00b in the Marketing arena). Traditional marketers struggle with how to infuse these programs with “social,” and invariably do EXACTLY what Sarah describes in her article.

Hell, I’ve even perpetrated this myself, my very first week after joining Jive’s Marketing team. Good thing it was an inexpensive lesson. 😉

Constant and steady wins the race

We all know that a foundational, ongoing social behavior is what’s needed to “sustain the message” these days, whether it’s in support of marketing programs, customer relations (ohhh, I almost said ‘management’ there!), or even personal reputation. But, how do you fit that into the way marketers approach marketing?

I’ll ask that again.

How do you fit ongoing social behavior into the way marketers approach marketing?

What I propose isn’t earth-shattering, nor is it complicated. What it is, however, is difficult, because it’s simply not part of a marketer’s job right now. And it’s probably the single thing traditional marketers can do to infuse “social” into their programs, the right way.

Here it is. Ready?

Nurture individual, trusted relationships with your key influencers.

Right now, there are probably one or two people in your organization who really KNOW your key connectors, mavens, advocates. It’s likely the person responsible for getting quotes from your customers for marketing materials, or whoever is in charge of your online community’s advocate program, or, if you’re lucky, the person who’s full-time job it is to engage with people through the social Web.

When you have trusted relationships with key influencers, you can ask them to participate in planning your marketing programs. They can advise you on what messages they’d be willing to propagate within their networks, what activities might help sustain the buzz between events, you name it. Because you’ve invested your time in building a relationship with them, they’re more likely to help you out.

Does it make sense to give this job to one person? Yes.

Right now, it makes sense to hire someone to spend all day in the social Web, building relationships, getting answers for people’s questions, directing them to relevant content and people.

Here’s what David Armano says about this:

A community manager actively monitors, participates in and engages others within online communities. These communities can be on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, intranets, wherever groups of people come together to converse and interact with each other. A traditional marketing manager is likely to have little experience with this function.

~ Fire Your Marketing Manager and Hire A Community Manager (Harvard Business Review)

The payoff is that these people end up creating massive amounts of social capital for your organization to spend as needed.

But, how do you measure social capital?

The problem is that it’s hard to measure the value of, and results from, social capital earned through ongoing social Web engagement (and for that matter, through in-person meetups, tweetups, conferences, parties, etc). Is it about generating leads? Nope. And unfortunately, that’s probably the primary measurement stick Marketing still uses.

And that’s why sites such as whatthefuckismysocialmediastrategy.com still ring eerily true.

So, WTF is my social media strategy?

Be like the Turtle. Your social media strategy should be to consistently and steadily generate – and SPEND – massive amounts of social capital with key influencers, customers, and anyone who’s considering buying into what you have to sell.

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