Certain words and phrases in social media marketing advice have become so overused that I cringe when I read them. They have a sanctimonious air of do-gooderism that is particularly annoying in the context of business, which is supposed to be about the ruthless world of making money.
But these clichés aren't going to go away, because they're all good advice. If you follow these clichés, you will succeed at social media marketing and make lots of money.
Engage. That's the big kahuna of social media marketing clichés. Companies shouldn't just be preoccupied with sending their messages out, they need to engage: get in on conversations with the market, listen to what customers and potential customers have to say, and respond.
Very true, but the word is annoying. "Engage" should be a word reserved for discussions of marriage and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The only guy who should be allowed to say "Engage."
Monitor. Companies should pay attention to key influencers in their markets and read and listen to what they have to say. They should use social media and reputation monitoring tools to keep on top of what people are saying, and should use that information to inform marketing and business decisions.
The USS Monitor
A US Navy ironclad that fought in the Civil War.
Give back. Marketers can't focus on selling product all the time. They need to publicize what other people are doing as well. This can be supporting charities, retweeting, or otherwise echoing other people's messages, or just entertaining and informing.
Do favors for other people, and they'll be more receptive to your marketing message. Think about the guy at the party who's always handing out business cards and trying to take advantage of other people. Don't be that guy. Instead, be the guy who helps out and brings a delicious potato salad. Everybody wants to get near that guy.
Go viral. Everybody wants to be the next Old Spice Man or "Will It Blend," but this is not the sort of thing you can plan on. Planning to go viral is like scheduling yourself to fall in love on Tuesday -- it just doesn't work that way. Videos will go viral, or they won't. It's outside of marketers' control.
That's frustrating, because going viral works. Viral video can increase brand exposure and improve sales. Heck, I was reading an article the other day about viral videos for marketing that talked about a marketing campaign for a special kind of razor used to shave people's heads. I got to thinking that I should maybe shave my head. I didn't even see the video, and it worked on me.
While you can't plan to go viral, you can maximize your chances. My colleague Dee-Ann LeBlanc rounds up six keys to going viral.
Markets are conversations. Mercifully, this cliché has died out in the past few years, but it's still true -- more so now than it was 12 years ago, when it was published as part of the Cluetrain Manifesto. It used to be that marketers sent conversations out into the marketplace, in the form of advertising and direct mail; it was like tying notes around rocks and throwing them through people's windows.
This 1958 family is ready to receive marketing messages.
Marketing is now a two-way discussion, involving talking, listening, and modifying future speech and behavior based on what you hear.
Cluetrain is still relevant today, even though it was published in 1999, before Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, and back when blogging had barely begun. Companies are struggling with marketing conversations like they never have before. And that's actually good news, because when Cluetrain came out, there was no struggle. Companies were completely oblivious to its valuable messages.
What are your favorite marketing clichés (lessons that are true, but annoying)? Let us know on the message board below.
— Mitch Wagner , Editor in Chief, The CMO Site
The CMO Site is an executive social network that provides CMOs and other marketing executives from the world’s leading organizations with a real-time, online venue where they can convene to discuss how they're delivering on the most critical marketing priorities. Join us!