Okay Okay, here it is. I will be re-stating the 36 rules of Social Media as compiled by Fast Company in their September 2012 issue. I won’t just be re-stating them (you can find out who actual made the quotes if you buy it yourself), I’ll be adding my 2 cents to them and how I feel brands (need to) pay attention.
Rule 1. If all you do is respond to complaints, that’s all people will send you.
David Says – Seems pretty straight forward. Social Media as customer service should be clearly labeled i.e. @company_service or what not. That way you can monitor that channel and help those in need. If you mix it with your main line of communication, it may be difficult to get your message across.
Rule 2. Stop & Ask would an actual person talk that way?
David Says – I’m a huge proponent of writing the way you speak. There are always exceptions to that rule, but if you are in tune with your audience you should address them that way. Don’t come off sounding ‘corporate’ when someone is trying to connect with you.
Rule 3. Everyone says they don’t want to be marketed to. Really, they just don’t want to be talked down to.
David Says – I guess this could go hand in hand with #2. When you are talking to a customer or ‘friend/follower’ assume that they already know why your company is the best thing since sliced bread. Give them some insight on how to find alternative uses for your product or connect with them on a level that provides them utility.
Rule 4. The consumer is out for himself not for you.
David Says – If a consumer expresses affinity for your brand, it’s because they feel like letting everyone else in their circle know it. Not necessarily you big company now have the right to spam them.
Rule 5. As monetization attempts go up, consumer experience goes down.
David Says – This should be number one. Brand managers don’t realize that with social media it’s not about the sell, at least in the upfront. People want to experience and engage with cool things. They will get to the buying part AFTER they like you. It’s almost like the difference with regular television spots and the ones that end with “If you act RIGHT NOW, you’ll get not one but TWO do everything and the kitchen sink mops for the low low price of one! – just pay extra shipping and handling.” Kinda cheapens the experience doesn’t it?
Rule 6. Don’t try to be clever. BE CLEVER.
David Says – This is easier said than done. The greatest campaigns are literally lightning in a bottle. NO ONE KNOWS what will catch on. Everything is a best guess. No matter what anyone tells you. Everything that is brilliant is always brilliant in hindsight.
Rule 7. Social is 24/7 not a one-time stunt.
David Says – PREACH!!! This should be number 2. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve produced a project only to have it become abandoned two weeks after launch. It pains me to see how a TV campaign can have a few connected themed spots sprinkled out throughout a year, but in the digital space we are littered with one-offs? What happened to building a community and ambassadors for your brand? Is there really only ONE company that does it right? (I’ll let you guess which that is).
Rule 8. Always write back.
David Says – Hmmmm that would require an investment into a social media TEAM. Not an intern that will be gone in three months. Brands NEED to hire people that are trained to respond on their behalf. That way when something dire happens, these people will be invested and have built up a real relationship with your audience. This seems like a no-brainer right? Sigh…
Rule 9. Have an ROI. Have an ROI. Have an ROI.
David Says – DEFINE WHAT THAT WILL BE. DEFINE WHAT THAT WILL BE. DEFINE WHAT THAT WILL BE.
Rule 10. People would rather talk to Comcast Melissa than Comcast.
David Says – See Rule #8.
Rule 11. Solve problems for people who talk about you. Even if they don’t address you.
David Says – See Rule #8.
Rule 12. Not everything will work and that’s FINE.
David Says – This is where I think I would succeed as a brand manager. I know that not everything will work from firsthand experience and knowledge of the space. Like I said before, no one can guarantee you a hit. You can do a shit ton of seeding to cover your bases, but you can never know what the phenomenon will be. You’ve just got to ensure that as a brand manager you are delivering campaigns that speak to your target audience in a way that RESONATES with them. You can hit a bunch of singles and still score runs.
Rule 13. Embrace negative content about your brand.
David Says – I experienced this early in my career with Nike. When we launched Nike+ a key component of the community was the forums. We wanted to give users the ability to communicate with one another. At the time Nike was going through some bad publicity with the sweatshop thing and were hesitant to open themselves up for bashing. We were able to show them that brand ambassadors would outweigh the detractors and that communities online have a way of policing themselves. The malcontents won’t overrun your parade (unless you’ve done something egregious) and in the end you’ll have some REAL insights as to what your audience thinks about you.
Rule 14. Everyone’s an influencer.
David Says – I disagree with this statement to some extent. If you are going to aim at getting a social media ‘star’ with a million followers to tweet, post, create a video about your brand. Be prepared to get a lot less value out of your spend. Why? Because all the brands relevant to that person’s audience is hitting them up. Your sponsored plug will ring on deaf ears because they are plugging everything. The alternate approach would be to plant as many seeds as possible with those on the rise, and maybe you can strike a more meaningful partnership with that person who will be an ambassador for your brand.
Rule 15. If fans distribute your content without your permission. Offer to help.
David Says – This one came from Mellssa Brenner, VP of Marketing, NBA. Not too long ago the NBA used to shut down YouTube postings of highlight clips from their games. Until someone over there realized that the NBA’s money maker isn’t the actual clips of the players, but in the actual MARKETING of said players. By allowing clips of Lebron James etc to be on YouTube 24/7 and accessible across the globe, people in China are able to see his spectacular play and begin to adore him. This translates in numerous ways down the line as a positive for the NBA. Think hard about trying to control what you can’t possibly control and figure out how to facilitate it in a way that is beneficial for you.
Rule 16. It’s okay to drive people to your site instead of Facebook’s.
David Says – I agree and disagree. NEITHER of these destinations are a good option if the content there isn’t fresh and USEFUL. Dozens of clients drive to their ‘FACEBOOK PAGE’ that hasn’t been updated in MONTHS. Why is that a good idea to you? I won’t go into why Facebook brand pages are lousy here, but that alone should be enough to give you pause. YES I realize that the social media for a brand usually falls out of your brand managers realm of responsibility (another thing to give you pause), but if you can’t get your own house in order, don’t invite people over.
Rule 17. Update your page or DELETE it.
David Says – I guess someone agrees with me on #16…
Rule 18. Don’t make people do x, y, then z. Stick with X.
David Says – A wise man once said, “K.I.S.S.” Translation? “Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.”
Rule 19. Last year: Pump out content. This Year: Optimize Content.
David Says – This isn’t applicable to most brands as they are still trying to figure out what their content is.
Rule 20. Become BFFS with your Facebook Reps.
David Says – Hmmmmm….
Rule 21. Social Media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Make traditional media and social work together.
David Says – Amen. For some reason from before my time here on earth. Creatives felt that different ‘mediums’ needed to speak in different ways. True. I agree. BUT. There should never be a rule that says they shouldn’t speak about each other. The print ad should point to the website, the tv ad should point to the website, the radio spot should talk about the website. The website (or social endeavor or digital idea) should be an awesome destination that wows people who come from ANY channel, and THEN give the user a useful nugget they can action on.
Rule 22. Desktop is conquered territory. Mobile is the Battlefield.
David Says – Conquered? Haven’t you been paying attention? Brands still don’t know what to do with themselves online, now you are asking them to deal with mobile communications? SH&$!!!!
Rule 23. If you didn’t see financial results. You wasted your money.
David Says – I guess they are reaching for quotes now… because this is in complete contradiction to #12
Rule 24. People fight for their privacy.
David Says – Yup they do. Unless they are getting something for it. Then they will give you the cats’ social security number.
Rule 25. The only way to scale word of mouth. Paid Advertising.
David Says – This needs more clarity… because to a brand manager, Paid Advertising = Banner Ad. Or maybe a really BIG Banner Ad. NO. Paid advertising needs to be a complete marketing mix of OOH, Digital (preferably only worthy banner placements), TV and of course BLIMPS!
Rule 26. Have a crisis plan!
David Says – YES! MUST EXPECT THE WORSE and hope for the best. Crisis plan will be carried out by your ________ YES #8 Social Media TEAM.
Rule 27. Don’t use ads to prop up boring content. Use ads to accelerate successful content.
David Says – Isn’t that always the sell of the Media Agency Guy? “We’ll optimize the creative to put into rotation the better performing units”. Jeez if I had a dollar. The majority of the time these dudes have NO clue as to why an ad unit or piece of content performed better than others. And guess what happens when you ‘heavy’ up on what has been performing…
Rule 28. Forget individuals. You’re creating content that encourages groups to form.
David Says – Disagree. Individuals make up groups. By knowing your target and speaking to a specific individual those people who feel they are that person will form that group organically. Don’t ever try to make your own segmentations because you’ll automatically alienate those key ‘influencers’ (there’s that word again) that are vital to the credibility of said group.
Rule 29. People don’t want to shop where they socialize.
David Says – Disagree. (These are coming fast and furious now eh?) People will shop WHEREVER is convenient for them. Socializing is almost the best way of getting people to buy. (other than free stuff) People trust their connections and if you are able to facilitate affinity of your brand during a conversation you WILL drive sales. It’s all in how you play the game. Remember the buy two get one free analogy from before…
Rule 30. Contests and sweepstakes are fine. If you want to encourage short relationships.
David Says – Agree. Because the brands that I’ve worked with (except for one), all believe that if they get 10,000 users on an initiative that is success. And they want all those emails, and user names, and birth dates, and cellular numbers too. FOR WHAT? 95% of the time they never EVER engage that user using that data… They are already onto the next initiative trying to re-invent the wheel… Oh how glad I am there are only 6 rules left, I’m getting flustered.
Rule 31. People care what you had for breakfast – if you’re a food brand.
David Says – Common Sense. Why do they call it common when most people don’t have it? Talk about WHAT YOU KNOW.
Rule 32. Pinterest Works.
David Says – Yes. So does a lot of things. Doesn’t mean you should jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. Be smart and RELEVANT.
Rule 33. Your fans own your brand.
David Says – Yup. If you are not true to your fans, you won’t have them for long. Realize what they’ve given up to you. Their hard earned (usually) dollars, for something that they perceive to be the value you placed on it. (Sometimes more than monetarily). Respect that.
Rule 34. If you’re bored by social media. It’s because you are trying to get more value than you create.
David Says – Huh?
Rule 35. Think past vanity metrics like Followers.
David Says – Yea it’s not how many, it’s how large. LOL Basically if you have 1,000,000 people ‘following you’. But only 375 give a damn what you say, you might as well only have 375 followers.
And Last but not Least…
Rule 36. It’s an Organism. Not a process.
David Says – Whatever that means. Basically, Social Media is almost a living thing. Once you put it out there, it takes on a life of its own. You have to nurture it, treat it right, and hopefully in your old age it’ll take care of you. If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you it’s yours, if it doesn’t it never was. HOLD ME DOWN BABY! – DMX