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The 10 Unbreakable Laws of Social Media

by Lori Taylor · 5 comments

10 commandments photoSocial media marketing is in its gold rush phase.

Sure, the early adopters have been here for years – they’re the gurus, right?

Maybe.

But now brands are entering the game; too many getting out their checkbooks without a plan in place.

Most brands are fluent in the mass media approach. Unfortunately, this leaves them tackling Facebook like online media buys, but with less purpose and fewer results.

I’ve learned the best question I can ask a client is “Why.”

If they can’t give me a tangible answer – we yell “squirrel” and move on.

Follow these 10 Laws of Social Media and you will be well on your way to crafting a rock solid campaign for yourself or your client.

Law #1:  Social media isn’t a costume you can use to dress up a bad brand.

If you brand is failing, or not heading in the right direction, social media isn’t a perfume you can spritz on the skin of your brand to make it smell better.

A return to branding basics, with appropriate messaging, positioning, and a strong foundation must be in place before you go to market with a social media marketing campaign.

Law #2:  Social media is a long-term commitment – never leave your man hanging.

You must know what you want your brand to be when it grows up, as well as what to do if you change you mind.

Knowing what your brand will look and feel like, as well as the steps required to implement your plan, are keys to long-term success. The worst thing you can do is get your fans excited and engaged, only to decide it isn’t “worth it” anymore.

Law #3: Social media is about them, not you.

Always show you care by listening for the best time to give the “right” response. This not your stage to sell, sell, sell. Give your audience a simple way to like you and an easier way to engage if you want a shot at a slice of their scant “social” time.

Law #4:  Use social media marketing to position your brand as something your market wants, not needs.

Too many people think being “needed” by their market is the way to bolt their brand to consumer’s minds. Yet, once a customer needs you it can position you as a fixed cost in their budget, if you aren’t careful. Long term, this can be a profit killer because need equals commodity – and price becomes the name of the game.

Without patents or the luxury of being the only guy in the category – value becomes a far weaker attribute and price drives the bargain.

But if you can be something they “want,” they’ll find a way to get you.

Just ask my 100’s of pairs of shoes.

Law #5:  Social media strategies maximize baby steps.

Social media is strategic and requires proper planning, so you can’t expect to make giant strides every time you move.

This is difficult for clients to grasp when they hear about Starbucks 19MM fans on Facebook, or Blendtec’s 10 million dollars worth of free advertising.

What many brands don’t realize is this viral effect is a happening, not an outcome.

While BIG buzz is great, it can’t be counted on because it is always short lived.  A real sales channel can only built with social media when designed for sustainability, through small strategic moves, a single step at a time.

Law #6:  A sticky social media campaign is built by consistently creating compelling content with context.

Oscar Wilde said, “Make them love you or hate you, but never leave them indifferent.”

Whoever your brand is, make sure you drive it home. If humor makes sense, do it, funny is money on the internet and if it’s relevant it can translate directly to the bottom line – just ask Old Spice.

The key to using content to draw a crowd is being consistent, relevant and compelling. Keep your audience coming back and they won’t come alone – word of mouth is dependent on your content being “shared”.

Law #7:  The best social media campaigns are supported by brands with  foundation of strong customer service.

Think Zappos, Dell and even Comcast…

Social media is never free, especially if your customers begin to see it as a superior customer service channel than their friendly automated phone rep.

Getting 1 million fans overnight is a brand’s dream come true, right?

Be careful what you ask for. If you’re lucky enough to tap into the Holy Grail of massive traffic stream, you’ll need a contingency plan to support your customers.

You can set your metrics to get 5,000 fans over a certain time period, but if the right message gets sent to the right person and he or she sends it to 1000 friends – well you might have yourself a Double Rainbow.

Law #8:  Going viral isn’t an outcome, it’s a happening.

Neither prayer nor money can “force” something to go viral. Hoping is fine, but counting your eggs before they hatch is bad business. The kiss of death for any agency is to set up success metrics based on this happening.

Avoid it at all costs.

Law #9:  All eyeballs are not equal.

In social media, quality is more important than quantity. If you believe 80% of yours sales from your social media campaign will come from the top 20% of your fan base, you better spend your money and resources to engage with the ones who will actually take action or are influential enough to get their network to mobilize on your behalf.

This is key to successfully monetizing your efforts.

Law #10:  Popularity is vanity, sales are sanity.  It’s up to you to decide how crazy you can afford to be.

Having fair weather friends or worse, fake friends who do nothing but clutter your page or feed with meaningless drivel, does nothing but dilute your brand and confuse the loyalists.

Following every Tom, Dick and Harry with no regard to their value to you means you can end up wasting valuable resources combing through the crap to find a daisy.

Still there are some brands that want the numbers to be thrown up, and of course if they can afford to staff and pay for hours to respond to people who aren’t part of the core base, kudos to them (and to you)!

The key is to understand what you are truly trying to achieve and tying metrics to those outcomes, rather than a general number.

There are many rules to follow when building the road map for social media success. I’d love to hear what you think – tell me what I missed!

And please feel free to download this presentation to use for your own efforts.  The cartoons alone are worth it!

Lori Taylor

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron Mullen February 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Whew! Hard to digest and complicated for a novice like myself but I’m glad to see someone successfully transitioning out of direct mail.

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Lori Taylor February 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I wouldn’t say I’ve left it forever, I still do it…but it’s part of an integrated strategy now – tie social media and direct mail together? It rocks pretty hard, actually. 🙂

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Edil February 8, 2011 at 7:23 am

Social media is very helpful to one’s business but it should have a good strategy. You have pointed out all the essential details in having one. I like Law #3. Good interaction is always a plus factor! Thanks for this. Keep it up!

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Lori Taylor February 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Interaction is so important, which is why appreciate you stopping by! Too many brands are using social media as one more way to PUSH – what’s cool is when you actually can “talk” to Apple, Starbucks, etc.

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