You’ve just been handed one of the hottest jobs in the 21st century.
Now what. How are you going to deliver results rather than hype? Here’s 7 steps you can take right now to get off to a roaring start.
1. Meet the Community
Go hang out on the company Facebook Fan Page and rub elbows with the Twitter followers. See if there is any signs of life out there. Search the conversations for fights, sharp elbows and congratulatory reviews. Your goal is to get a feel for how deep and broad your community really is. Try to identify your”Paul Reveres” as best you can. But don’t get hung-up on heavy duty analytics – for now just know who you are dealing with. This is your new family – time to make your introductions.
2. Get Connected
Social Media is chock-full of hype-free thinkers. Load up your RSS reader with them right now. Make it a habit to review what these folks are writing about on their blogs. Go ahead and download anything they are giving away for free – and try to see them speak at an event. These guys and gals will be your eyes and ears. You can’t hope to stay on top of this space without them.
3. Start Publishing
Steve Jobs is famous for saying – Real Artists Ship . I’ve tweaked this timeless quip to “Real Artists Publish”. You just can’t understand this space unless you write about it. Don’t be the paparazzi that follows along parroting what others have to say. Get your voice out there and start honing your own point of view. It may seem self-serving, but your business will appreciate your ability to be a credible thought leader.
4. Find Your Voice
The biggest hurdle you have now is banishing corporate double-talk from your business’ voice. For decades, businesses used a homogenized dialect that was safe and utterly unforgettable. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that this voice will attract a tribe. Take your CMO to lunch and probe for the humanity in your brand. Talk to your best customers. Start asking questions on your Fan page and Twitter. Listen in on Customer Care calls. You need to go native and learn how to connect your brand with real people.
5. Force Your Brand to Loosen Up
Believe me when I say that your customers or hungry for a connection with your brand.
They’ve decided to spend real money on your product or service – so they want to know that you have a pulse. Show them that you aren’t a faceless corporate snob. Tell them about customer events. Give them a sneak peek at your advertising. Share the lighter side of your office culture. Most of all, let them know that real living and breathing care about them (and not just their wallet).
6. DON’T WING IT
Social Media is tough when you don’t have a plan to organize your day-to-day activities. I strongly suggest that you print out a calendar and write in your blog posting schedule, events, PR opportunities, and other interesting tidbits. Start walking around your office and asking “marcom” stakeholders to hand over their event calendars. Let ’em know that you want to “increase awareness and leverage their activities” – use those exact words – they’re magical.
Once you have the Calendar, work through each event and note the best way to share it with your community. For example, use Twitter for your events, Facebook for your community building and customer celebration activities. Use your blog to share stories and solicit feedback. (If you’re lost – go to Step #2 and model the pros)
7. Stay Real and Relax
It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Take a breath. No one has this stuff figured it out. You win if you play. It gets easier the more you engage with your customers and get plugged into the community.
Most of all – have fun – you’ve got one of the best jobs on the planet – enjoy it.
- Image Credit: voguemarie –