May, 2010

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Building a Social Media Army

Reposted with the permission of Jessica Northey

ar·my : noun
-a body of persons organized to advance a cause

Building a Social Media Army
When I decided to write this post I actually Google’d how to start an Army and was a little scared of what I found. In America forming your own army or militia is a constitutional right (2nd amendment) and is protected by Federal law. Treason, however, is illegal. I found that the main characteristics of starting an Army/Militia is to get them vetted, trained, paid and readied for action!
Loyal followers not only ‘pledge allegiance’ by retweeting, reposting you or sending you shoutouts. Having an army of loyalists helps grow your influence over the products, services and activities they chose. Having a strong Social Media Optimization plan supersizes that influence and carries to the people that your influencees influence.
We all want loyalists, but here’s the harsh truth: Loyalty is difficult to achieve! Many people try to build it with clever marketing campaigns and promotions. The reality is that one-hit-marketing-wonders or a few concert tickets will create short term relationships. Superficial efforts don’t dig deep enough into their minds to make a difference!

So how do you build a Social Media Army?

1.) Define Your Cause
Take a minute and really define what you are building. You might have read a book or two, worked with strategists, consultants or managers that helped you define your Marketing Goals. Your Social Media goals should mirror, but they are different. I have yet to meet a client that doesn’t say, I need to be on (whatever platform) and when I say, “why or what are your goals?” They look at me kinda funny. It has to be clear in your mind what you are doing, that is how the mystery of Social Media is squashed. In addition, determining goals will help you manage your expectations of Social Media.
Here are the most prevalent goals I hear:
-Increased Brand Awareness
-Reputation Management
-Improved Search Engine Optimization
-Increased Relevant Visitor Traffic
-Improve Sales for a Product or Service
-Gain personal connections (*hint* this should be everyone’s goal!)
Written Goals = Success. Determine key metrics BEFORE you get started. Pick three solid metrics to track: Web or Blog Traffic, SEO Ranking, Amount of Targeted Followers in certain time are common.

2.) Know Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach. Pinpoint the characteristics of the perfect listener as it relates to your format. Understand how your target audience uses Social Media (gender, age, geography, etc.)
-Listen and then listen more.
-Ask yourself the following questions when you are designing Social Media Optimization Campaigns: What’s your point? What type of program is this? What is your purpose? Awareness, Sales, Loyalty? What’s your relationship with audience? What does your audience know about you today? When and where is your audience using Social Media?
-Who are you to this audience?
-Elevator pitch or 60 second commercials are obsolete how do you describe who you are or what you do in 140 characters or less?

3.) Know Your Battle Field
Before you begin, worry about social media tools last, not first – tools will change (remember AOL? Yahoo? MySpace) Listen to the conversations people are having about you and your brand. The easiest way to do this is to Google yourself or I love the Twitter Search Tool.
-Set the foundation of transparency that takes your cause across all social mediums.
-Get them emotional about your brand.
-Connect with them.
-YOU are NOT that important. FOLLOW people back and respond to them when they talk to you.
This is a shame and a spoiled chance to take someone from being engaged to being invested with your brand. I run a few celebrity/artist Twitter accounts and never get tired of hearing a fan we follow back spread the word and brag to their Followers that so and so is following them. It is a really powerful and sometimes under used tool of Social Media by brands and but dang does it sure work!
-Create personality behind the story. Show them you are more than a logo or a photo. Help followers find common ground that lets them relate to you. ie your you are a Dog person so connect to your Dog Lover followers on Social Media. It only takes a few posts and tweets to identify these people.
-Content is King! Without the value to the audience, you will get the inevitable “so what?“
-ALWAYS make account open to public-It’s ‘Social Networking,’ Not ‘Anti-Social Networking’!
-Speak WITH people not AT them, Social Media is a dialogue not a monologue!
-Forget ‘What am I doing?’ and ask your followers, ‘what are they doing?’

4.) Promote Your Cause
Cross Promote Social Media Networks: tweet to followers to join your Facebook Profile or Fan Page, Post your Twitter Account to Facebook Account. Make sure that you Social Media Logos are clear and visable on your website.
-Add to Business cards, letterhead, vehicle magnets other Broadcast and Print Media.
-Consistently talk about your participation in .
-Provide listener services through Social Media as long as you can follow up.
-Run Social Media-only promotional offers and place a deadline on it and be sure to track results.
-Invite followers to your events. Include links to where they can register.
-Let followers know where you’re going to be and invite them to join.
-Make bumper stickers for your Business that say “Follow Me” with your Social Media branding.
-Put “Follow Me” on the back of your T-Shirts along with your .
-Create a Ning network for your clients, loyalists to engage your brand, advertisers and each other!
-Use #Hashtags and custom shortened URLS when orchestrating contests.

Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all. Nothing can be more hurtful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.
-George Washington

Reposted with the permission of Jessica Northey