When you were a kid did your parents make you go to arts and crafts camp? Did you actually want to go? (assuming no one in their right mind would want to go). Fact: my Mom actually FORCED my sister and me to go to arts and crafts camp - never letting this one go! I can't believe I'm actually remembering this, but we had to learn the recorder - aarrgghhh. If it wasn't arts and craft camp, no doubt there was somewhere you didn't want to go that your Mom/Dad forced you to go to. This memory lives with us and, perhaps, that is when we first learned to do things our way. Funny that the internet, until web2.0 exploded, didn't allow us to do things our way. But that is in the past, the social web allows us to explore/do/process/transact/learn/interact/review/rate/engage/collaborate where WE WANT TO!
So why are businesses still PUSHING/FORCING people to their brand, on their terms?
The times have changed! Google Wave, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIN, Communities of Practice, forums, Skype - THE SOCIAL WEB has changed our command and control centers. Gone is the dominance of people sitting infront of MS Outlook. Nope, we are interacting/tweeting/friending/Googling/Skype. We have multiple tabs open with social networks and applications running all the time. We interact on project management tools. Our day is filled with Facebooking, and it is a valuable task, actually. As a company, your #1 job is being there - having a place on the social web. Most importantly, you are helping your customers FIND VALUE IN YOUR PRODUCTS.
OK, will they accept your information?
Yes, but it has to be valuable!!!
The picture above best illustrates the core message of your social marketing strategy: YOU ADD VALUE, constantly. This isn't an easy task. It starts with changing the idea of that tired email marketing combined with a landing page thinking. This isn't how customers will interact with your brand. In the future, they will expect you to be where they are.
How do you accomplish this?
You need a guide through the social web. Starting up your social marketing platform might require a consultant (extanz.com is a good one). Dedicated and committed staffing is also important. But THE MOST important thing to consider is the strategic implications of this communication medium. You need to start now and find success!
Again, thanks to the HeadRush blog for the picture - if you ever start writing again, I will donate! Also, thanks to Extanz.com for teaching me so much about the social web!