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05/17/2010 Social Media Strategy: Put on Your Dating Shoes

When I talk with companies looking to dive into social media, I find it odd that so many them still want a short-term, wow-em campaign. Every time I hear this, I always think of my old college friend Bill.

Bill wasn't the best looking guy in our group, nor was he the smartest one. When it came to Saturday night parties at the frat house or hanging at the local bar, though, Bill had a completely different strategy than the rest of us guys. Bill always had a pile of current events magazines in his room, some of them women's magazines. He would prepare for his social outings by scouring these publications for interesting topics. When we used to give him a ton of grief about this, he'd always answer, "What are you going to talk about? The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue?" Undaunted, he prepped for weekends like a final exam.

When Saturday night came around, Bill was always talking to several women, wherever he was. While the rest of us hung out at the bar, preening manly and eyeing the best looking women in the house (who rarely looked back), Bill usually found his way to nice women without obsessing over their looks. He knew with whom he had the best chances. While the rest of us usually went home empty handed, Bill always had a telephone number or two (at least) as the result of his efforts. Guess who had the last laugh?

When you get to work in social media, start acting like Bill. Figure out who you should talk with and why. Do your homework and gather or create content that would interest those people. Make sure you have some type of conversion mechanism somewhere in your outreach, so you can tie it back to your business goals.

Chances are you don't have the flashiest brand around. Leave that to Apple and Zappos. Don't worry about fancy clothes or perfumes. Show customers and prospects you're in it for the long haul. Do your homework and follow through.

While most marketing campaigns take the opposite approach, your social media strategy, like a dating strategy, needs to focus on relationships and not one-night stands. You need to imbue your social media team with this type of dating mentality for you to succeed.

It might not sound very sexy, but neither does being alone on a Saturday night


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