This guest post is written by John Fitzsimmons, a Vice President at Racepoint. Follow him on Twitter at @jfitzsimmons1.
Some time ago I sat with a colleague who was trying to figure out my former company’s social media strategy. He got “Twitter religion” during a seminar and was determined to put his new found wisdom to use for our business-to-business company. We had meetings, Tweeting metrics were set up for the marketing team, and we were off. Tweet twice per day. Topic? Somewhat of an afterthought. See what we could find. Just make it interesting. Hmm.
Okay, that was at the beginning of the Twitter revolution when companies were still trying to figure things out. Kudos for jumping in early and trying something new. The problem? That still applies to a lot of companies.
ExactTarget recently surveyed 1,500 people for “The Social Break Up” report, which highlights the top reasons why people break off relationships with firms they once were inspired to follow – through Twitter, email or newsletter. For email enthusiasts the number one corporate sin was sending messages too often. (p. 9) On Facebook, one quote sums up consumer sentiment nicely, “I hate when brands think of Facebook interactions as an opportunity for sending advertising messages.” (p. 10) On the other end of the spectrum, one Twitter user quoted in the report said, “Brands that Tweet only once per week or less quickly become obsolete – they’re not providing value in that medium.”
Clearly there are interesting, diverse expectations for each medium, and for every industry. There is no single “correct” social media approach, and no strategy can remain unchanged for long. If your company is testing the social media waters, there is no shortage of advice about where and how to start.
If you want to follow a stellar example of social media goodness that’s been successful for almost a decade, check into a Mid Western company called TechSmith, a client of ours. A true pioneer of social media community building, TechSmith has one of the most loyal followings I’ve seen for a software company. Its corporate Twitter handle now has more than 5,000 followers, in part due to the company’s genuine concern for its users, honest approach to making great software and the fun personality that exudes in everything it does. If you want to follow one maven who brings the funny and the useful to her followers, check out chief evangelist Betsy Weber. Another new media specialist to follow is TechSmith’s Dan Foster.
When radio first debuted, futurists predicted the death of newsprint. When television first entered the scene, the death of radio and newsprint were predicted. The same was true when the Internet foretold the death of all other media, as well as brick and mortar stores, remember? This time around, less celebrated visionaries saw the introduction of social media as one more method for communicating, in addition to those methods that had gone before. Twitter, Facebook, Quora, LinkedIn and other social media tools are now used by media and businesses alike. Social media is used successfully in fully integrated marketing campaigns, alongside banner ads, search, TV, radio and newspaper ads, direct mail, email, etc. If you haven’t taken the social media plunge yet, we urge you to think of it in the context of a bigger, holistic media picture. The revolution is leading to evolution. Which is far more exciting when you think about it.