This afternoon I have the privilege of talking with a couple groups of early childhood educators, advocates, and researchers at the 2011 National Smart Start Conference. My presentations is titled: “Building Your Online Community Through Social Media: Lessons from the Corporate World” – a recap of the key lessons are below.
1. What’s in it for me? The fan value proposition is critical
Before your first tweet goes live, put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask “what’s in it for me?” Whether your social media communications are about providing exclusive content or discounts, an open look at your organization or employees, or powerful success stories – figure it out, and respect it. Keep your efforts focused on embracing and fulfilling that value proposition.
2. Blogging isn’t quite dead yet
Contrary to the rise of Twitter and the annual proclamations that “blogging is dead”, blogs are actually critical parts of the social media marketing mix for any organization. They provide flexibility for communications and crisis management, a powerful home for long-form content, and wonderful SEO value.
3. Your Facebook wall is where the community thrives and grows
When 96% of “fans” of your page never come back to it, how do you reach and engage them? Through fantastic wall content and a strong – and constantly updated – engagement plan.
4. Reasons to share: The neglected fuel that drives social spread
Never assume your community will share your content or programs just because you think they’re great. Always take care to build in compelling reasons to share, whether those incentives are financial, more, egotistical, or based on humor or reputation.
5. When the crisis hits, a poor response is vastly worse than none
A brief note mentioning Nestle’s Facebook debacle, and how poor responses and community management can severely aggravate a situation.
6. A moment might be fleeting, but a tweet lasts forever
Chrysler and the Red Cross handled inadvertent – and inappropriate – tweets in very different ways, but both highlight how the margin of error in social media is incredibly small. The value of the long-lived nature of the ‘Net and social media is enormous, but so is the downside. Be smart.
7. YouTube is about discovery and sharing – don’t worry about subscriber counts
Is YouTube really a social network, or an amazingly powerful search tool? Don’t focus on subscriber counts like you might worry about fans or followers – that’s not what’s important when it comes to the world’s largest video sharing site.
8. Just say maybe to shiny new objects
Twitter’s not for everyone, Quora might be 2011′s Plurk. Carefully evaluate which social networks have staying power, and which are worth your investment in time, resources, and reputation.
9. Face-to-face is still the ultimate social media
Offline events might not get the press, but they are powerful social tools along with goldmine’s of shareable content. Include them in your social media mix, and go the extra mile to extend every event online using the social tools at your disposal.
10. Data is king, and analytics his queen
Measure the metrics that matter to those who own your budget. It’s that simple.