Adding To The Noise

A critical view of new media, new technology and new marketing.

There Are No Top 10 Best Rules for Social Media Marketing

2 Comments


The other day I was working in my home office when the FedEx Ground guy pulled up. I noticed on his dashboard was a box of Milk Bone dog biscuits. When I asked him about it, he said he keeps them in case of wild homeowners dogs. I thought that was a very smart strategy that is probably not in the official FedEx employee rules. It was something he learned from unique experience between him and his customers.

This led me to thinking about all those self proclaimed “Top Strategies for Social Media Success” lists that we see everywhere online and off. Bloggers and journalists love lists and we are told top 10 lists generate top traffic, so we write them. A simple Google search returns 135 million various forms of “top tips for social media marketing.” But if we are honest with ourselves (I’ve written plenty of these myself) there really is no one-list-fits-all social media strategy. What worked for Comcast Cable and Best Buy and Universal Studios latest movie launch probably will not work exactly for your local bank, tech start up or package good.

Is your social media strategy unique to your situation or are you simply following the rules?

Is your social strategy unique to your situation or are you simply following the rules?

The problem with posts and articles like The Best Social Media Tells A Story, and Top 6 Social Media Marketing Tips, or  Social Media Marketing: How Do Top Brands Use Social Platforms is you can’t really build a social media plan out of them. Just because 80% of top brands are using Pinterest, does not mean that you should. Even if you did, how would you use it, what would you post there and how would that tie into what you’re doing on Facebook? Is it a good idea to tell a story in Social Media? Sure. But what story do you tell and where?

These are answers that can not be found in a blog post or article about the latest social media platform, technique, tip or survey result. Like my FedEx delivery guy, you need a strategy unique to your experience and customers. So how do you find your Milk Bone solution? Despite saying that lists don’t work, I suggest this basic social media strategy framework:

  1. Identify your business goals, marketing strategy and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  2. Determine your target audience, discover where they’re talking online and what they’re saying.
  3. Engage the target on their social platforms with meaningful branded content in a way that leverages each platform’s key capabilities.

Even this list is woefully incomplete, but at least it starts in a place rooted in your unique situation and starts to drive a strategy of choosing social platforms and creating content based on your business objectives, marketing strategy and target audience. Otherwise you are left to chase 135 million different people’s top tips that may or may not be good suggestions for your business.

Perhaps this explains why in a recent AMA survey only 9.9% of CMOs believe their social marketing is “very integrated” to the firm’s strategy and a full 15.2% admit that it is not integrated at all. This despite the same CMOs all planning to increase social media spending more than two folds in the next five years. If you want to really integrate social media into the rest of your marketing and business operations, you need to go beyond the tips and lists. Dig deeper with a good social media strategy book and/or workbook or enlist the help of a consultant who can take you through a more complete social media strategic planning process. And a white paper report such as “How to Integrate Social Media Into Your Marketing Strategy,” will help get you a lot further down the road towards true social media integration. The result will be a treat for you and your customers.

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Author: Keith A. Quesenberry

Marketing Professor with Industry Experience

2 thoughts on “There Are No Top 10 Best Rules for Social Media Marketing

  1. Couldn’t agree more. There are just way to many so called guru’s, ninja’s and expert’s out there spewing the same tired message. That is why I get my info from SteamFeed.com. Great info from professionals who are in the trenches, doing the job.

    It drives me nuts when I go to a site that offers social media services and they have all these packages, same services and prices for all businesses. It just doesn’t work that way. Myself I always require a free initial consultation to determine goals, and strategies to meet those goals. Well done Sir…

    • Yes, this goes to the misperception that Social Media Marketing is free compared to traditional advertising. There may be no paid media costs, but the planning and execution of social costs the time of in-house marketing staff or the hire of an external partner.

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