Welcome to the world of Anti-social media

“This community has cut back on staff and overloads the people who are left to do the work.”
“The food was late, lukewarm and it tasted stale. What are my folks paying for?”
“They’re in financial trouble. Here’s a link to a blog that explains it…”

Suppose those are the first things a prospect hears about your community? Consumers need eleven exposures to your brand before they’ll start a meaningful dialogue. What if they never get past three?

This is the wild and woolly world of social media. Just how wild? A Burson-Marsteller study revealed that 76% of the time, blogs gave an inaccurate picture of the original company message, blogging it up with “opinions, personal experience, knowledge of competitors and speculation.”

Marketing rule number one has always been “Talk to your customers” so they get your message, your way. But in social media, your prospects are busy persuading one another. Are you left out of the conversation?

Don’t follow us on Facebook™?

Age-qualified prospects are using Facebook in growing numbers, connecting with family and friends. So is the elusive adult child.

But an ExactTarget® report showed that 65% of Facebook users only used it when not at work or school. Ergo: “If you’re making social media part of a 9 to 5 work day, you might be missing out on connecting with consumers during the times they’re likely to be online.” (Source: Mashable/Business)

Social media has to be managed, so you reach prospects when they’re able—and willing—to be engaged.

They “Like” you. But will they listen to you? The ExactTarget study revealed:

  • 70% don’t think that becoming a fan equates to opting in to marketing.
  • 40% wanted discounts and promotions.
  • Only 21% wanted to learn more about the company.

At face value, Facebook initiatives are not an immediate invitation to sell. So your presence there has to be immediately relevant to the audience.

What social media can’t do, despite what anyone tells you:

It won’t generate leads instantaneously and shouldn’t be used at the expense of other lead-generation tactics.

In fact, social media makes it difficult—often impossible—to track leads. It’s a twisted trail: Someone finds you on Facebook, searches you on Google and then lands on your site. So it’s hard to understand the cost-effectiveness of your lead generation tactics.

Social media is not really about making sales—it’s about making connections. But, properly managed, those connections can enhance your marketing and advertising programs to:

  • Establish new channels of message distribution.
  • Protect and enhance your brand reputation—and correct misimpressions.

Enhance your recruiting efforts.

Find the conversations to join, places where your audience is landing: Facebook pages for the Alzheimer’s Association or OurParents.com, for example. Then join in. They’re posing questions. Provide the answers they need, in forums they trust. Establish yourself as a reliable resource—so you can be there to save face: presenting the facts when someone drops an undeserved cow pie on your good name.