This is from the Picnic Conference blog, taken from a telephone interview with me, last week. Please note that I am firm believer that there is NO COOKBOOK for success in social media (whatever that means!), at least as far as I can tell. And there is no certainly not a definitive correlation between your mere numbers of followers or friends, and the quality or merit of your work. We are still very much in the very first, embryonic phase of social media marketing (and the related personal branding options), and it would be very premature to equal success in numbers with success in business or even any real degree of influence. I am experimenting with this just as much as everyone else... so, read this below, in that spirit!
Btw - the Picnic conference in Amsterdam (Sept 23-25, 2009) will be well worth attending (and not just because I'll be speaking ;). Last year's event was thoroughly entertaining as well as inspirational, if sometimes a bit overwhelming due to the sheer number of topics and attendees. Check out my 2008 Picnic presentation on The New Music Ecosystem, here.
From the Picnic site (comments by me are in[...])
"Last Friday, the team at PICNIC had the opportunity to pick Gerd Leonhard’s brain about social media marketing and what has made him successful. Gerd is a well-known media futurist and a regular PICNIC participant. He travels the world speaking about the future of media, content, technology, communication, business and entertainment.
In less than six months Gerd accumulated over 5000 followers on Twitter and his website traffic [and RSS feed users] increased by 300% (60% of which comes from Twitter). As a result he decided to completely stop communicating with his 17,000-strong database by email and his business has continued to thrive. It was a pleasure to chat with Gerd on the subject of social media marketing and we are excited to share some of his top tips with you.
Pull, don’t push: Get people’s attention by providing value and earn their love by engaging with them. This will naturally lead to increased website traffic and increased sales.
- Choose a plausible position and objectives you want to achieve
- Find out where your target audience is, i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube…
- Listen to others and decide carefully who you want to follow and get feedback from
- Track replies and keywords to help you actively participate in the conversation
- Set up multiple accounts if necessary (by topic, employee, etc)
- Jump in: don’t be afraid to start, there is no right or wrong way to use social media for marketing
- Provide value: link to content on your website or blog like videos, slideshows, tips, interviews; provide useful resources from other sites; don’t be afraid to re-package existing content by putting a new spin on the story.
- Avoid sales pitches: but do offer special offers or rewards to members of your network
- Participate: develop conversations with members of your network; ask for feedback or advice
- Be transparent: people will feel more connected with your brand when they know what is going on behind the scenes
- Establish yourself as a thought leader or authority: dialogue with the right people
- Social media marketing is not a replacement for other marketing tactics. Success with social media tools requires time and effort, not money. Success has to be defined by the individual or company.
- The number of followers or members is important, but not the only measurement of success. You can also track traffic to your website generated by social media sites, number of RSS subscribers, and increase in comments or leads.