Continuing our trend this week of embracing the notion that even the worst Social Media advice can sound pretty damn smart when you give it a chance: Below are 5 super-duper-awesome bits of advice from some of the best Social Media Strategists on the planet, paraphrased and edited to meet the rigorous standards of this blog.
Oh wait… I forgot. We did away with standards earlier this week. Oh well. Here are today’s totally swell Top 5 strategic strategies for New Media in 2011 anyway. Enjoy!
1. Staff up for New Media. 2011 is going to be the year for strategy (Woot!)
Your New Media strategy is going to need a lot of qualified individuals to run it. Lucky for you, I have made a short list of the types of specialists you will need. Here it is:
New Media Strategist – This differs from a Social Media strategist in that this strategist strategizes about “new” media, not just Social Media. Foursquare is still relatively new, for example. Facebook, not so much. Having a New Media Strategist onboard will give you an edge on your competitors (who still think that having a Social Media Strategist is the bomb) because you will have strategies based on new (not just sort of new) media.
Content Strategist – Ignore my diatribe about this the other day. That was the old Olivier. The critical olivier with all the hangups about strategy vs tactics, and nomenclature. Pffft. That’s all over with. The new Olivier totally gets the need for content strategists, especially now that you had to let go your editors, copywriters, content planners and content managers when the economy tanked last year. Having a content strategist will help you ensure that your content doesn’t accidentally end up making no sense at all, for example. (This takes a lot of planning and strategy mapping.) You wouldn’t want pictures of Kermit the frog showing up on your 4″ ball bearings product page, for example, right? That’s what Content Strategists do: They strategize content.
Digital Conversation Strategists (you may need more than one) – That’s right: If you are going to be having conversations with customers on the interwebs, you are going to need a solid conversation strategy plan.
Social Engagement Strategist – This role works hand in hand with the conversation strategist. That said, you will need to make sure that the conversation strategist focuses on conversations and the engagement strategist on engagement. If you allow any overlap, you invite a turf war you do not want. Trust me on this. So make sure that your engagement strategist focuses on engaging, not conversing. Different strategies altogether.
New Media Turf Management Strategist – This role develops strategies that allow Conversation Strategists and Engagement Strategists to work together without generating unnecessary strategy overlap (or what experts call strategy creep).
Crisis Response Strategist – You are going to need one of those for when mean people attack your Facebook wall and whatnot.
Social Media Internal Communications and Collaboration Strategist – You need a strategy to help you develop internal systems and procedures for your Social Media army to function properly across your company. Fail to do this, and you will end up with a giant mess. (Every thrown a bunch of shoelaces in a bag and left them there overnight? That’s what your internal comms will look like if you don’t hire a Social Media Internal Communications and Collaboration Strategist.)
Facebook Wall Strategist – You don’t want your wall to be without structure, do you?
Avatar Strategist – Most corporate avatars are horrible. You need someone who will make sure that your corporate avatars are fully optimized for every new media platform AND that your avatar designers are properly supervised by a qualified (preferably certified) avatar strategist.
2. Create a ‘List Strategy’ for your blog.
Did you notice that this post is a Top 5 list? Of course you did. You know why it’s a Top 5 list? Because lists attract visitors like honey attracts bears, that’s why! The core of your content strategy should be this: EVERY other blog post you publish should be a Top 5, Top 10, Top 25 or Top 100 list. (If you feel really confident, you can even try a Top 150 list, but remember that with great power comes great responsibility.)
Here are some examples if you don’t feel inspired:
Top 5 ways to maximize your twitter marketing automation
Top 10 ways to attract 10,000 new followers per month
Top 7 ways to make $627.39 per day using Twitter
Top 25 ways to make over $10,000 per month with affiliate links
Top 100 most awesome Social Media buzzwords
Top 10 Social Media R.O.I. equations your business could start using today!
Top 10 ways to engage with (insert demographic here) customers on (insert platform here)
See? Easy! Content strategy is really real, and swell to boot. Want to see my content matrix?
3. Take out online ads like you mean it!
Forget what you have been told. All this “new media” stuff is basically just a bunch of advertising channels where people talk about their cats. Sure, we talk about how they’re sacred word-of-mouth chat rooms of authentic awesome, but truth is that nobody minds if you try to sell them stuff there. Look at DELL. Did people turn up at their headquarters with pitchforks when they sold $6M worth of stuff on Twitter? No way. People sang their praises for months! The only way DELL could have been cooler is if they had sold twice as much as they did. So don’t listen to the hype: Spam, shmam. Advertise more than Viagra and Cialis combined, and you will get tons of traffic to whatever web page you want, or sales, or whatever you’re after. Just make sure that you hit every new media channel hard. The Germans called it Blitzkrieg! For New Media, we call it BlitzShkrieg!
4. Give your Social Media Program and Director maximum exposure.
If your Social Media Director isn’t keynoting at SxSW in 2012, your New Media strategy in 2011 was a dismal failure. There is no other litmus test. Sorry. That’s just how it is.
Want to save yourself the embarrassment? Follow this simple strategy and you might have a shot.
– Meet with your PR department daily. No wait… Twice daily. Make sure they understand that if they don’t push out a story about your Social Media activities every single day, you will replace them with PR strategists.
– Every week, make sure that your Social Media program is featured in at least one “Top 50 Best Social Media Programs” blog post somewhere. Anywhere.
– Sponsor events, tweet about them and pimp the fact that because you had a hashtag for the event, it was technically a Social Media project. If more than two people show up, be sure to call it a huge success and a worthwhile investment. (It is. Two people can be a lot. It’s all relative.)
– Start creating slide presentations and post them to Slideshare. They don’t have to be good. Just post some presentations there every few weeks. That’s all people will really remember anyway.
– Hire a Conference Booking Strategist to make sure that your Social Media Director speaks at no fewer than two events per month. make sure someone is at every event to take pictures so you can prove they were there. Oh… You don’t have to disclose any of that. Better to let everyone thing your SM Director was invited to speak.
– Publish case studies every month. If your net numbers aren’t great, release anecdotal percentages instead. Like, for example, if your second event attracted 4 people, that’s a 50% increase in foot traffic from the previous one which only attracted 2. Publish that. No one will bother to ask for details. If anyone does, make sure your Social Media Director knows to act annoyed and walk away. It’s standard operating procedure for these types of situations and works on most journalists and bloggers.
– Make sure that your Social Media Director has his picture taken with all the big Social Media names, and that he/she chat with them on Twitter pretty much every day. Social Media clout doesn’t technically come from… Klout. It comes from osmosis. make sure you develop a strong Osmosis strategy.
– Sponsor events. With cash. That usually lands you a spot on stage if you want one.
– Remember, Social Media is really ALL about PR. Sure, you can win the hard way, by doing work and getting real results, but that isn’t the fastest way to get good press. Not everyone can be Ford or Starbucks. Your Social Media Director could be out of a job before any of that happens. The alternative is just to do what you’ve always done, which is to make sure your PR team pimps you all day, every day, to everyone who will listen, until no one dares question that you are indeed a Social Media powerhouse.
5. Focus on authentically automated transparent conversational engagement (Social Media Robots).
Let’s face it: The more you automate, the more cost-effective your Social Media program will be. Since you already blew most of your budget on strategists rather than people who do stuff, my advice is to either outsource or automate as much of the execution as you can. It’s really all about spreading the message, right? Right. Shove that messaging down those Social Media pipes like wet cornmeal down a goose!
What about authenticity and transparency? Not a problem: FTC disclosure rules don’t technically apply to robots. So not disclosing that your responses are automated is perfectly kosher. In other words, what you learned in science fiction movies was true: Automation is even better than outsourcing! All you have to do is get your content strategist to craft a keyword matrix / message generator, and then schedule updates (I prefer to use the term outbursts) at regular intervals on the Twitternets and Facebooks. All you have to do then is automate your outbursts and DMs (Direct Messages) weeks in advance, and voila! Instant Social Media success! Just squeeze out those self-promotion messages every 5-7 minutes, and you’ll be good to go.
So remember, kids: It isn’t about good practices or bad practices anymore. Thank goodness the “real” Social Media gurus showed me the error of my ways. Clearly I had it way wrong all this time, focusing on clearly separating best practices from really bad practices, discerning real methodology from made-up BS, aligning Social Media to business objectives… Using ugly words like “bull$hit” and “snake oil” to attack charlatans. Silly me. Why did I ever think that all that negativity would ever be worth anything to anyone? All I was doing was hurting myself and my “brand.” I should have listened to my betters sooner when they all took turns telling me I should stop pointing out bad practices and focus only on the positive. (Stubborn!) This is so much easier! There is just so much more value to agreeing with everyone and falling in line with the lowest common denominator isn’t there?