Best Practices in Social Media – Part I

by Kate Brodock on 9 September 2008

Posted in: Explanation

  • Sharebar

Six Pixels of Separation has called upon Social Media Professionals to come up with a list of best practices.  We’re going to have a two-part series on this, with the first of the series being a wider-picture best practice, and the second being a more specific one.

As many people working in this field may know, when you’re trying to convince someone of the benefits of using new media tools, it can sometimes (ok, a lot of the times), be a very difficult process, and can often prove unsuccessful.  It could be the marketing department, the CEO, a client (or potential client), or colleagues, but the resistance to using new technology happens all the time; more frequently than we’d hope.

When we make a case for new media, we use one main philosophy: put it in terms the person will understand, based on standards and terms that are already used frequently in the communication and business community.

I’ve found myself in conversations with people in the field, and we talk about community, participation, loving your customer, etc.  But we all get that.  We all know the importance of these things because we’re immersed in it.  It’s a nice little picture of simplicity in our heads.

But it’s not in the heads of those who don’t use these tools, don’t read the blogs we do, still mostly use traditional marketing and communications tactics.  These concepts run the risk of sounding fluffy (yes, I’ve been told this), big picture, idealistic, pointless, vague etc.

In addition, we have the problem of measurement to deal with during these conversations.  Not only is this big pretty picture hard to grasp conceptually or qualitatively, but there is also a lack of measurement standards.  This doesn’t make your argument any more convincing, that’s for sure.

What do we do?  We bring the concept as close as possible to what the person understands.

So instead of simply talking about encouraging participation with your customers, and initiating conversation to create communities because this is what people are doing, we’ve found it more effective to use terms and concepts like “brand awareness,” “customer loyalty,” and even “brand equity.”  We enhance these already solid and developed concepts with new and modern ideas.  We like to think of them as integral “additions” to existing communications programs. It’s much less intimidating and different.

Instead of skirting the issue of measurement by saying things like “well, it’s going to depend on what we decide your goals are,” or “it’ll change with each tool you use,” we save those comments as an afterthought, and we start with presenting them with the combination of both quantitative tools (of which there are plenty) and qualitative data to create a picture.  If they have a blog set up as ad hoc playtime in the new media space, talk to them specifically about that tool and what you can do with it.  We were talking to a potential client who had just that, and named three or four specific ways we can measure growth and success of their blog, and they looked at us in amazement and said <<wait, really, you can measure all of that?  That sounds so easy!>>  And he wasn’t just saying it, he truly understood those numbers and translated them into terms he understood better, such as ROI etc.

Bring the discussion as close to home as you can with people who don’t know this space, especially when you’re trying to convince them to dive in.

Chris Brogan, in his Twelve Ways to Sell Social Media to Your Boss, hits on this in a few of his suggestions that offer specific arguments to your boss, specifically #2 and #3.

In his 5 core arguments that can be made for social media, Rohit Bhargava suggests a few ways to gather some specifics to use in your case in arguments #1 and #2.

Dan Heath at Made To Stick also posted recently about using terms that are more human when explaining statistics to someone.  The concept is the same: the statistic makes more sense when it’s put in terms that are better understood.

A few other Best Practices goodies brought to you by Zemanta are below.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
  • Parker Patton

    Great thoughts on best practices. I was glad to see that that you mentioned success metrics as a best practice as this seems to be one that is lost many times in the Social Media arena.

  • Parker Patton

    Great thoughts on best practices. I was glad to see that that you mentioned success metrics as a best practice as this seems to be one that is lost many times in the Social Media arena.

Previous post:

Next post: