If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering how effective you are as a social marketer, here are just a few areas you may want to examine for ways in which you could improve.
1. Responsive – It struck me as I was writing this, watching highlights from last Sunday’s NFL games, that social marketing has something in common with being a professional football player. You have to be responsive, willing to absorb information. After a drive down the field, whether it yielded a score or not, players listen to instructions from coaches – sometimes delivered calmly, sometimes yells – on how to improve next time. They sit there soaking it all in and nodding. You should be just as willing to listen to what your customers, readers, and peers have to say. Which leads to…
2. Able to Take Criticism – Remember the yelling coaches? Well, opening yourself up to commentary guarantees that not all of it will be good. The world would be great if all messages were delivered exactly the way we wanted to hear them, but that’s not always the case. Understanding when criticism is warranted and learning how to use it to improve takes practice.
3. Voracious Reader – According to a 2010 NielsenWire report, Americans spend about a quarter of their time social networking. I don’t know about you, but I am in front of a laptop from 5am till about 10pm every day. And that time is all about reading and writing, but mostly reading. Social media types are constantly reading, absorbing reports, blogs, articles, analysis, etc. If you’re not big on reading, try setting aside certain points of the day – for short periods of time – where you vow to get your reading down. Example: 30 minutes in the morning for the latest news and 30 minutes in the afternoon for blogs.
4. Number Cruncher – From words to numbers, social marketing requires a firm grasp on figures and statistics – more importantly, determining what they mean and how you can use them to improve what you’re doing. At the very least, make yourself familiar with some tools that can help you obtain and analyze your numbers.
5. Customer-Oriented – Whether you’re providing a product or service, it’s all about the customer. Stay focused on how to reach the right people and engage them. The customer experience should remain your top priority when designing a site or developing an ad campaign.
6. Be Curious – Ask questions and surround yourself with people who have the answers (more on that in a bit) and are just as curious as you are. Is there someone in your field who is achieving great success? Dig deep and figure out what they’re doing that you can incorporate into your own practices.
7. Adaptable – I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to try something new when I feel like I’ve already got a system in place that works. And that can be fine sometimes, but we shouldn’t be afraid to investigate (curious) when a change might be better (responsive). Everything moves so quickly in social media and there’s always someone coming up with a more faster, concise way of doing things.
8. Builds Relationships – No man is an island, and all that. No matter how good you are, you’ll need help spreading the word. One voice on Twitter is amplified by the number of followers willing to RT its message. As an independent author I have developed a network of writers, graphic designers, beta readers, and editors who are a valuable source of support and information.
9. Willingness to Invest – Sure, the internet is full of free services, but knowing when to invest a little money (and more time) in yourself is key. There’s a reason why a lot of sites just starting off look the same – they’re using the same free themes. Investing money and thought into your online presence can be the difference between you standing out or fading into the crowd.
10. Tell a Story – Whether it’s what your brand stands for or progress and updates to keep your readers informed, everything we do online is sending a message. Communicating effectively sounds easy enough and it’s something we tell her kids in elementary school to help them write cohesive papers, but you’d be surprised how hard it is for some adults to deliver a clear message either by words or their marketing techniques. Developing and conveying your story makes for a more engaged audience.
What are some habits you’ve developed that work for you?