The key to marketing with social media is that it isn’t a specific event. It is a process, a conversation, with your customers, the industry, influencers….whoever you’re targeting. You can’t walk into a party and begin shouting and expect people to react positively. The same is true with social media. You need to have some understanding of the situation, the context and the culture before trying to be the center of attention.
You can, however, chime in, offer an opinion, ask a question…or just hang out and see what’s going on. So many people are afraid of starting with social media because they don’t know how, they think it will take too much time or they don’t see how it relates to their business. Frankly, while the technology can be intimidating, they have made tons of progress and most of the platforms are dead easy to use. Plus, if you think about social media as a different way of talking with customers about how you can help them – it is much less intimidating. Also, you don’t have to have everything perfect to start…
There is no wrong time to start engaging in social media. Go ahead and jump in, hang around, watch, listen and learn the culture of each network or community.
You know – this is an important distinction that I’d like to draw your attention to. Social networks and communities are different – they are two separate entities. Networks, like LinkedIn or YouTube, tend to big and diverse with lots of people trying to connct and get noticed. Communities, like FaceBook or MySpace, are usually smaller and focused on a specific topics or interest and are much more friendly and social by nature. Where to engage is easy to figure out if you’re been listening to the conversations. Sometimes it might be a combination of networks and communities…but usually there is one that is significantly more appropriate based on active conversations, members, quality of discussions.