Social Network Marketing is currently a hot topic in the world of Internet Marketing. Many people want to integrate a social media and social networking component to their marketing mix. The most common problem I see is Social Media Marketing thrown together in an ad hoc fashion and poorly executed.
The key risk from a marketing perspective is this: poorly executed SEO will result in no rankings, poorly executed PPC results in wasted budgets, poorly executed Social Media Marketing can result in a bad reputation, negative buzz and angry users.
You need to be very cautious when executing a Social Media Marketing campaign - do not just throw something together and start talking to an online community, the ramifications could be not only worse than you expected they could be difficult to undo.
Planning, education and execution are critical to a successful social media program. I would suggest that you consider the following points before launching a social media marketing program:
- Which social media sites will you be targeting? Is your content appropriate for that network? For example: Digg is extremely popular among technology and design audiences. StumbleUpon is popular for humor, entertainment and gaming audiences. Newsvine is popular among politcal junkies (these are fairly simplistic examples but you get the point).
- What voice do you want to project for your product to these audiences? Direct marketing doesn't generally work well. Informational, educational and interesting content is needed with a subtle hint towards promoting your product.
- What are you trying to say to the audience? Social Media Marketing is really about starting an ongoing dialogue with an audience, it's about building trust relationships that are subtle. Formulating a message is extremely important, continuing the dialogue in a genuine way is critical. If you are not going to do that then you need to reconsider leveraging this medium.
- Social Media Networks are composed of and run by real people. Remember that. This is not traditional advertising. You are developing a conversation with real people.
- Be prepared to hear things you may not like. You may get no reaction. You may in fact get a negative reaction. Ensure that you know how to deal with a negative reaction and always remember that someone who gives you a reaction is someone who cares. Engage them and sort it out, it will be worth it!
- Be prepared to engage the community as a community member. Participate in a very real way, if you do any less your programs will not succeed.
Although I've gone off on a tangent slightly, I am laying the ground work for this screencast and discussing one of my favorite sites: StumbleUpon. I'm not going to introduce Stumbleupon in this article, I do that in the screencast below. You can also learn about StumbleUpon right here.
So enjoy the screencast and I'm sure I've missed something in my overview so let me know by leaving a comment. Click Play and watch my screencast on Stumbleupon, you might find it useful!