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The keys to good social media … #3

When people ask for examples of our work, we find they're not actually looking for flowery, flashy examples - the usual things creatives show when they want to showcase their work.

Instead, we find it more useful to show them a range of client projects which showcase HOW the work was done. This is as important a part of the process as WHAT is produced.

Good quality work doesn't always mean you've worked on the bigger projects. We know. We've worked on sites that get in excess of four million 'hits' (yes, we're cringing at using a neanderthal web measurement tool, but most people get this) a week, but it's the smaller ones that require more focussed work and more targetted content. Plus, if big web budgets meant quality work, the Federal Government wouldn't have pulled the plug on their $13 million Grocery Choice web site turkey.

And just one last thing on these examples: when you’re looking at them, please bear in mind that the design isn’t our work. We say that as often when reviewing web pages, most people focus on the design – our contribution was primarily the web writing or strategy).

So what have we been working on lately? This should help ...

There are four keys to good social media practice.  It’s more than just choosing the right tool – it’s about the right approach.  Today is …

Key #3 – Engaging using social media

Successful social media is about starting conversations, holding conversations, seeking feedback and establishing community.  In one word … listening.

Social media has developed like so many online tools once companies fell for the trap of thinking it was just another avenue to advertise.  And like web sites which did nothing but incessantly talk about themselves, social media has gone down that path as well.

But successful social media programs don’t take advantage of another avenue to talk AT people.  Social media done well is about talking WITH people.

The third key to successful social media is about engagement.

How do you engage with people?

Social media has more in common with conversations than it does with marketing.  For your social media program to be truly successful, it needs to ask your customers what they think and then, importantly, to wait for the answers.  It is more than just ‘Like us and you’ll enter a competition to win XYZ’.  Once they’ve liked you … then what?  They have given you permission to converse with them in their own space and you need to respect that in order to make a success out of it.

Let me give you an example … I entered a competition for a men’s grooming product in order to win something.  (My motivation wasn’t to win … I know the odds are against me … it was more to see how they’d handle it).  They’ve spent the next three weeks shouting at me with ads I don’t really want to see.  So I’ve hidden their posts.

A second men’s grooming product has spent their first three weeks in my space by asking me a range of questions that include how I use their product but also asking for ideas and feedback.  I’m still listening.

This can something be the part of social media that freaks organisations out.  We have had countless discussions with clients and prospective clients who have expressed the concern, ‘what if people use social media to tell us they’re unhappy?’  Our response is always the same … at least now you know.  The fact that you don’t want their feedback doesn’t turn them from a disgruntled customer to a gruntled one.

So key #3 in successful social media programs is engaging with people.  Talking WITH them, not AT them.

Next time – key #4 in the four keys to good social media practice.

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