of Social Media Marketing for Businesses Large and Small
By Maurice A.
Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have put
the power of the media in hands of the average citizen.
Entrepreneurs, information marketers, and college students have
learned that they can be the media for audiences both large and
small. They have also learned that the nightly news and the
traditional print media will share their stories. This shift in the
“power of the press” carries with it three rules of social media
marketing for businesses large and small. These rules are:
Silence is Not
In high school
science, we learn that nature abhors a vacuum. Well nowhere is this
truer than on the Internet. If a business fails to comment on an
event, good or bad, then the social media will rush in to fill the
void around the corporate brand. It’s very simple. The
construction of search engines and social media is such that there
will never be silence associated with any brand.
Whether the brand is the iPhone, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Disney,
Universal Studios, or an unknown convenient store on the corner of
Smalltown, USA; if something happens, somebody must comment. That
is the nature of the Internet and the social media in the 21st
century. With the advent of internet enabled cell phones, YouTube
enabled smart phones, text messaging and location enabled Twitter,
everybody is not just a news reporter; they are a video historian.
Watch the evening news in any market, anywhere in the world, and you
will see YouTube video broadcast about a news event that has
happened that day. Nothing is more powerful than eyewitness
testimony, both in a court of law and on the six o’clock news.
It is important to remember that is not the occasional user
of the social media who is making these reports; it is the regular
blogger, the regular Twitter broadcaster, and the regular YouTube
poster, who is making these reports. They have followers and their
followers have followers. The average reach of these individuals is
over 20,000, and their audience is reliable. This means that
corporations cannot just broadcast a message in the social media
when something happens, corporations must have a presence 24/7. The
social media presence of a corporation must be part of an ongoing
plan and deliberate social media optimization process that ensures
that the corporation has an audience, and that the corporate
audience is larger than that of any client or customer who may come
through their door.
The First Story
Told is the Story Most Retold and the Story Most Believed:
media is a cultural phenomenon based on a conglomerate of social
norms and behaviors that span age groups and demographics. And as a
result, the rules are difficult for many entrepreneurs and
executives to negotiate. But one of the rules that is constant
across all social media platforms is the first story told is the
first story believed. Further, in the social media, the first story
about a major event, positive or negative, will be retold,
retransmitted and shared among social media users. The first story
told in the social media will be converted to email and resent. The
first story told is also the most likely story to make the
transition to traditional media, in other words, it will become
news. Because of this, it is not enough to respond when a message
appears on one of the popular social media platforms, such as
Facebook for Twitter. Instead, when an event occurs, a business
must have a prepared statement ready to transmit immediately through
an established social media optimization program to ensure that the
corporate message is first story told. Ideally, this corporate
message will even precede those messages, blogs, tweets, and YouTube
postings that may be coming from those customers actually involved
as participants in the event.
And don’t believe for a second that blocking cell phone
communications, disconnecting Wi-Fi, shutting down Internet or in
some other fashion, disrupting access to the social media will delay
negative social media messages. This has been tried by major
governments around the world and in every instance, not only has it
in fact accelerated the rate that these messages have been
transmitted, but increased the negative sentiment attached to the
event. Ironically such attempts to block social media messages
actually expanded the reach of every message that the perpetrators
attempted to block.
The great Vince Lombardi once said, “the best defense is a
strong offense.” In the social media, nothing could be more true.
The only way to counter a negative message is to send your positive
message, even before the first negative message can be transmitted.
Buzz is the Bomb…It
Can Propel You to the Top, or Blow Up in Your Face:
W.C. Fields once
said, “I don’t care what you say about me, so long as you spell my
name correctly.” In the social media, W.C. Fields’ advice would be
disastrous. What is said absolutely matters. The sentiment
surrounding the brand determines the degree of influence that a
message has and it determines the action taken by those who receive
the message. The goal of all marketing is to influence potential
clients and potential customers to make a purchase. In the social
media, that means that they must be influenced to reach for the
mouse, reach for the credit card, reach for their wallet and make
Buzz is the bomb. A positive buzz, means that there is
positive message activity around your brand. There is positive buzz
when people are sending your message to their friends, their friends
are sending your to other friends and it all influences someone to
make that positive buy decision.
If the sentiment surrounding your message is negative, buzz
can blow up in your face. Research shows that a negative message
will be sent on four times more frequently than a positive message,
thus doing four times the damage, influencing four times as many
people not to buy.
W.C. Fields was wrong, it is not good enough that your name
is spelled correctly, something good must be said as well. The
easiest way to ensure that something good is said, influence those
who influence others to say something good about you. Again, this
is done by having a constant positive presence in the social media,
even before anything noteworthy happens at your company, at your
place of business, in your brand.
There are three rules of social media marketing for
businesses large and small. Turn on the news any night and you will
see big business that have failed to follow these three simple
rules. Whether it is a cruise ship with a passenger falling
overboard and 124,000 tweets telling the story of how they left him
behind, or it is a major amusement park with the most anticipated
themed ride in a decade breaking down, trapping riders for 45
minutes and generating 50 YouTube uploads. To succeed in the social
media remember: Silence is not golden, businesses must be in the
social media early, regularly, and constantly. The first story told
is the first story retold. To be the one telling your story,
influencing others to retell your story, businesses must take
ownership of that message, or someone else will fill the void and
tell your story for you from their perspective. And finally, buzz
is the bomb. That buzz must be positive, so that the bomb does not
blow up in your face.
Read other articles and learn more about
Maurice A. Ramirez.
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