Top 10 Milestones for Social Marketing Part 2 of 2

6. Forgo Silos: Customer engagement using social media is a delicate balance. You have to communicate with customers in a way that’s specific to a platform like Facebook or Twitter, and then integrate those platforms in a way that allows customers to migrate, discover new content, or try your products and services. So rather than seeing social media as a series of independent channels, see it as a fluid conversation that migrates from one platform to another, and challenge your brand to become sufficiently fluent in each of these tools that it can migrate seamlessly tracking with conversations.

7. Show your humanity: There is no doubt that it is challenging for any brand to act in a more human way, particularly when they face legal and intellectual property issues. But social technology demands a new type of relatedness from brands. The bad news is that this often takes place in real-time, which means companies must be more timely in their response than ever before. The good news is that they’re allowed to be more human, with all that implicit fallibility. So as long as your brand can admit to making a mistake and take responsibility for it, this can in fact endear a brand to its customers.

8. Lead with listening: Every brand faces a series of hurdles before it can meaningfully enter a conversation being conducted by its customers about the brand. The first of those is the patience required to be invited to join a conversation. At first a brand must listen to the nature of the conversation, and validate the issues being raised by its customers, rather than try and dictate it or move the narrative in a new direction. In fact, the companies that will succeed in the future will be defined by quality of listening, because the capacity of your customers to promote your brand is in direct proportion to your capacity to listen to their wants and needs.

9. Move with them: Social technology is changing faster than ever, and this challenge is compounded by the fact that customers often use new technology in ways that were never imagined by its developers. Still, a successful brand must maintain contact with the ways that their customers like to relate to each other. So this means a persistent fascination with emerging social technology, and also a curiosity as to the new ways in which it’s being used. Only then can a brand stay in sufficient contact with its customers to be seen as a relevant and consistent part of the community.

10. Let go of ‘right’: Just as with human relationships, social technology has an emotional dimension and a qualitative nature that precludes any notion of being “right” or finding the “perfect” answer. Instead, brands must recognize that it’s is an ongoing and tireless challenge, but one that also gives companies an unprecedented opportunity to connect emotionally with their customers.

If a brand walks itself steadily and consistently through these ten steps, and maintains a fascination with emerging technology, they will be able to maintain contact with their customer community, which over time can becomes their greatest asset.

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