If social media is making your head spin, you're not alone. Social media and other Internet tools are still in the wild west stage. There are no rules. There are little analytics. And the players can pop out of nowhere, even surprising themselves with their instant Internet fame.
I'm not a math wizard, but this makes sense to me. 1X1 equals what? One! That's old media. No dialogue. No conversation. No engagement. Now let's say you share some news with 100 of your closest friends . . . and they share your news with 100 of their closest friends. Now that 1X1 becomes 1X100X100 or 10,000! That's why you want to put social media in your marketing tool box. You can reach incredible numbers with the click of a mouse.
If that's not convincing you to ramp up your social marketing, check out these facts:
Fact: 50% of all US adults now use some form of social networking. 65% of adult Web users in the U.S use social tools. (Pew Research Center)
Fact: Boomers Internet usage of social networking on a typical day grew a whopping 60%. (Pew)
Fact: 3 Billion views a day on YouTube. 25 times more than the Super Bowl audience (20/20)
Fact: 48 hours of new video uploaded to YouTube every minute. More in a day than all the networks combined create in a year. (20/20)
Fact: QR Scanning has increased 1,200% from May to December of 2010.
Fact: The Marketing Trifecta has shifted from broadcast, print and direct mail to social, email and mobile.
Fact: 68% of people who share on the Internet, do so to make themselves look better. (New York Times Insights)
But social is not really "new" to public relations' pros. After all, word of mouth is the essence of PR. Social media is really only a new tool in our PR tool box, based on the tried and true principals of any good PR program.
So how do you navigate the sea of content and tools to produce videos, blogs and business opportunities? Here's is what we know from the 7 C's of Social Media to Win Customers' Hearts:
1. Create a Grand Goal. If you don't know why you are doing social media and where you want it to take you, you are just wasting your time and resources. Get this one right from the beginning to save time and money.
2. Create a Clear Path. Once you decide where you want to go, make a plan. Decide who is going to drive social media and how long you plan on the trip to take and how much you plan to spend to get there.
3. Create a Valuable Why. Social Media is not Selling Media. This is a tool to make friends, build credibility and get people engaged in a conversation about you and your brands. The why needs to be what's in it for the end user, not what's in it for you.
4. Create an Engaging Personality. How do you make yourself popular? Ah, check out our secrets.
5. Create Magnetic Content. You don't have to create new content every time you post. Don't reinvent the wheel. Become a "curator of content" -- repost content from people you respect that your audience will want to know about.
6. Create Customer Hubs. The Internet is all about community. Create an online family that you support and they support you. Give your customers a place to "brag" about their success.
7. Create the Buzz. Make the news happen. Don't wait for it to happen. And then tell everyone about the news you just made happen. Just check out Costa Farms' "Growing Style" digital magazine.
Not much has changed since junior high school. We all still want to be popular. The Internet is now making that possible for anyone . . . not just cheerleaders and football stars.