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Replace those social media robots with real humans!

Social media is too readily over-complicated and full of new-world jargon that takes it away from the clutches of traditional marketers – but the marketing community is certainly more equipped to deal with what has become a behemoth of a topic!

The digital community seems to have interpreted social as a technical discipline and in the process made it quite robotic – the vast majority of ‘strategies’ full of tweet frequencies, how many videos to upload and when best to post a blog – it becomes frustrating – and there is no wonder why the argument quickly switches to ROI.

Over the last few years social has been the conversation of the industry and will remain to be until more case studies appear and it is demystified for all – or until the marketers wrestle it back!

We all need to remove our obsession with just creating Facebook pages and calling it social and worrying about how many times we’ll tweet and calling it strategy!

Whilst not an extensive list that breaks out in to great detail I wanted to share a few things that I hear in conversations about social as often as I see 3 Gold’s in 44 minutes! Topics that prove social is a true marketers tool, ready and primed with a wealth of rich pickings.

Map your stakeholders – a must-do exercise and one that is most often overlooked – the equivalent of setting your objectives, as interactions with the right people can be the difference between success and failure. Don’t leave it to luck – plan to engage with the audience you want to. Find your customers, advocates, industry leaders and competitors. Align people in your own organisation to those you need to engage with. Make it a companywide initiative.

Do your research – social is a domain rich in public conversation so seeing what the hot topics are and how your stakeholders are behaving offers unprecedented intelligence. Why is listening not the first active thing you do in social – ‘two ears and one mouth’ is just as relevant online – be a good listener first and you’ll learn how to have a better engagement.

Humans still rule – offering a robotic existence isn’t going to get you anywhere. Arguing the frequency of your tweets isn’t being social. You need to be human; provoke conversation of course but engage with others more so – curate if you wish but offer human perspectives and remember who is on the other end of your content. Frequency and volume are not metrics to measure.

Tweets follow content – the first thought in social is given to channels and how to brand them and not what we’ll say, and to whom – take time upfront to plan your content strategy and take in to account the research you’ve done too. Start with content and your tweets, blogs and conversations flow from here quite naturally. Take in to consideration your offline campaigns and make this your opportunity to detail all the activity during the year you could produce content for and about (you probably already have this!) – make a calendar and stick it on the wall next to your stakeholder map!

Think campaign – social isn’t standalone, it integrates with your existing marketing quite nicely, its complimentary more often than not so extend traditional campaign plans to include metrics and activity in social. Don’t just write a blog and leave it either – write a plan for a series of content and engagements. Treat social like any other campaign you run and you won’t go far wrong.

Social media is new in the sense of its lingo and channels but not in it’s planning and execution – marketers have been practicing it’s techniques for years and just need to translate them. Don’t over complicate it and stick with your schooling.