Social Media Is Just That: Social

Social media is just that: Social

…which means that the rules of etiquette apply.
If you want to build your brand using social media outlets, remember your table manners.

Use the right utensils.

Those unaccustomed to fine dining can get overwhelmed by the broad array of silverware—which fork should I use for salad and why are some utensils above my plate? Many marketers who are just entering the social media world can feel the same way. There are lots of digital tools, and a savvy marketer needs to understand the role each plays in your overall marketing mix. Facebook and Twitter are great tools to build traffic to a website that can provide more information. A blog can provide a forum for direct interaction with your customers, and YouTube is great for product demonstrations, and sites like Pinterest leverage the viral nature of the internet.
Be a good conversationalist
Be engaging. Your customers want to interact with your brand, talk with you, learn from you, and buy from you. What do you have of value to share? The only way to build “followers” or “fans” is to offer something they want. In social media , content is king, so be sure that you are offering strong content. Typically, it is good manners to follow the 80/20 rule; offer 80% content that is helpful, useful and focuses on your customers and only 20% that focuses on you or sells your product or service.
Keep your elbows off the table
Don’t be invasive. Engage with them without overpowering them. If you send messages, posts or tweets too often, you will become a nuisance. Do some informal research with some of your customers to find out how often they want to hear from you. Each industry will be different, so take the time to determine the proper frequency of communication for your brand and your industry.

Don’t take too large a portion of any one food
Understand that social media is just one vehicle for engaging with your customers. Because it’s the latest and greatest tool, many marketers may become overly dependent on it. It is a great tool to use, but it needs to be strategically planned as a part of an overall marketing strategy. Traditional media like TV or radio still has its place. A personal letter or direct mail piece, printed on fine quality business stationery may also be part of your brand-building efforts. Together they provide an overall impression of your brand that is bound to be memorable.
Be respectful of others

If you follow these rules, you will find a logical, balanced way to incorporate social media tools into your marketing mix to build a lasting impression on your customer. To grow your brand, engage your customer with compelling content consistently and you will grow your business.

Rahna Barthelmess is a branding strategist and author of the soon-to-be released personal branding bible Turbo-Charge Your Career. You can find out more about branding and personal branding at

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One Comment

  1. smartin
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    What wonderful words of wisdom! Since we launched Southworth’s Facebook Page in August, we’ve learned a lot. Never a dull moment once you go Social!

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