4 things about Social Media that every marketer should know.

By Jeanie Hendrie

I recently attended an AMA hosted event called Debunking Social Media Myths. It was a short session, but I kept my ears wide open for advice that could be applied externally by our clients and internally by our Blog, Web & Social Media teams. Seated directly behind a post, I couldn’t tell you what any of the panellists looked like but I was able to capture a few pearls both for the social media newbie and for those resident “experts” (FYI: there aren’t any):

  1. “Social media is a relationship strategy” says Darius Bashar of Extreme Group, a Toronto-based, Halifax-grown ad agency. How do you already communicate with your customers? Where are they? What types of social media do they use? Creating a presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is worth nothing if all your customers are on MySpace. Think about your social media strategy as a relationship strategy first and the rest will fall into place.
  2. You don’t need an entire social media strategy to enter the space. Get your feet wet. Ease into social media by starting something internally – use a popular platform to communicate with your internal team and watch as it transforms your ability to develop new ideas and collaborate on existing ones. Then, scale it.
  3. No one is an expert. Social media is a new game every day. The speed at which new platforms, technology and measurement tools are launched can make it difficult for anyone to become an expert. Our humble panellists may not self-advertise as experts, but their collective expertise was apparent in the number of cases, examples and anecdotes (both good and bad) they referred to throughout. So…are there social media “experts”? Maybe not. But learning by doing? Absolutely.
  4. Use social media to connect your customers and then…step back. Social media isn’t just about talking to your customers – it’s about getting your customers to engage each other by creating an online community that fosters collaboration and co-creation. It’s like that 3rd grade science project that every parent has done for their kid (thanks Mum, for the sweet solar system) – sure, you’ll provide lots of help along the way, but in the end, it’s the kid (or the customer, in this case) who wins that gold ribbon.  

So there they are…the 4 pieces of social media wisdom that travelled around that post, through my ears and catalogued themselves somewhere between snorkelling and spring rolls. I’m no expert, but since no one else is, I suppose my pearls are as good as any.