The Best Practices In Social Media Marketing Writing Project

Mitch JoelPosted by

Are there best practices in Social Media Marketing?

Marketers struggle to come up with answers because Social Media is still a very new and exciting channel that we’re all discovering. Some might even debate if you can have best practices in Social Media at this point in time? The debate rages on whether the actual practice is one for the marketing professionals or for the public relations industry.

What are your best practices for Social Media Marketing?

This is the start of a new group writing project to create the most-up-to-date guide to Social Media Marketing Best Practices.

It’s really simple to take part:

1. Write a Blog post on your Social Media Marketing Best Practice. I’ll challenge you to choose just one (granted, you’re free to do whatever you want).

2. Include links to other people who have written similar posts for this Social Media Marketing Best Practices writing project that have caught your attention, or include their insights in your own post (just make sure to give them proper attribution).

3. Link back to this Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Blog. This will help me organize all of the content, it will help spread the word, and if you link back to this Blog and email me, I’ll make sure to include – at least – two links back to you. (note: you don’t have to do this, but I am trying to keep this as organized as possible).

4. If you use Technorati Tags (or anything like it), please tag your post "social media marketing best practices project".

5. Feel free to tag other people in your post to get their opinion and help spread the project.

The idea would be that each tagged person will then write their own Blog post. I’m sure people will flood each other’s comment sections, but the "big win" will be if we get all of us writing our own unique posts. I’ll centralize and link to them here.

There is no deadline to write but I have high hopes that this project will go on for some time, develop, morph, adapt and become an organic resource for Marketers today and tomorrow. I’ll post aggregated updates and links here on this Blog every so often.

You can also win a prize!

I have a brand new Apple iPod Shuffle (1GB) that I am offering up for the "best" best practice, with a runner-up book prize of, Always Be Testing – The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer, by Bryan Eisenberg, John Quarto-vonTivadar and Lisa T. Davis (see below for the updated prize). I will – personally – choose the winners at the end of November 2008.

Here’s my Best Practice in Social Media Marketing:

Consistency. Be consistent. In everything that you do. Have a consistent username that you use in all of your channels (mine is mitchjoel). Use the same photo, so that you are recognizable in all of these channels. Use the same name in all of your postings (even when I comment on other Blogs, I use: Mitch Joel – Twist Image). Don’t blast out five pieces of content or join three online social networks and fade away. Choose one, stick with it and keep at it. Be more like the tortoise instead of the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. Advertising is the hare and Social Media is the tortoise. If you release a weekly Podcast, don’t change your production to every month of so. If you start with a monthly show, you can always step it up to twice-weekly (or weekly) as it grows in audience and popularity. Be consistent.

I’ll also kick things off by tagging: Chris Brogan, Bryan Eisenberg, Shel Holtz, Jeremiah Owyang, Steve Rubel, Andy Sernovitz and Kate Trgovac.

Now, it’s your turn. What’s your best practice?

(hat tip to Ben Yoskovitz from Instigator Blog and Julien Smith from In Over Your Head for the inspiration).

UPDATE: Bryan Eisenberg has offered to supply an authographed copy of his latest book, Always Be Testing. Thanks Bryan!
UPDATE II: Andy Sernovitz has graciously offered up four copies of his book, Word of Mouth Marketing, as well for prizes. Thanks Andy!

28 comments

  1. Two questions for the competition?
    1) Your submission above is directed towards your own personal brand’s self promotion. Is that what your mainly after, best practices for social media makers self promotion. Or are we including client strategy as well?
    2) Can people pick the book if they win, I’d say its as valuable as a shuffle!

  2. 1) I am speaking about companies. Companies need to be consistent – same logo, same username (or same spokesperson), etc… I am trying to compile this so when clients (companies – big and small) ask, “do you have any best practices?” I can point them to this writing project.
    2) Of course you can 🙂

  3. ooh and now just a general question coming out of your post.
    Let’s say you’ve been involved socially with different outlets for some time. You have multiple names, dont use the same picture, everything is scattered and because of say adoption of the tools while young, there was little strategy behind your madness off the start?
    What would you recommend to change and streamline your consistency given that you have an existing audience you dont want to lose in the transfer? Would you start from scratch with new accounts for each product, or would you just change and see what happens.

  4. If we are addressing the business side of things then I’d say “caring”
    The point being that everyone wants to be treated well and feel like they are being taken care of or serviced well. We all know that caring is something that can only happen if human interaction is involved.
    Caring about the people we interact with makes the social media tools much more useful because they go from being just tools to use for personal gain to tools that are used to help others!
    Thanks for using your creativity to start an initiative like this … very cool. I look forward to seeing all the feedback.

    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  5. Thanks for bringing that up Jay – it is a very good question. And Mitch, thanks for helping us out with an upcoming post, can’t wait to read it.
    Even though I have very little practical social media marketing experience, I would like to take a stab at this project – perhaps that is not so helpful for your clients?
    Since I took your IAB one-day Social Media course in April, I have dedicated a lot of my time to researching and learning more about Social Media and am loving it – thanks for your inspiration!

  6. Thinking about companies who want to be part of the conversation and initiate/respond (primarily in public social media venues vs company hosted), would you say best practice to use a company profile / known spokesperson / any employee (with consent of company).
    As far as consistency, employees come and go, but at the same time, employees command a different level of credibility that perhaps the “corporate voice” cannot achieve. ON the flip side, the company profile may be represented by more than one individual, so in this instance consistency is challenged as well.
    Thanks for starting this thread. Hope I haven’t gone too far off topic.

  7. Hi Mitch, thanks for starting this project. Great stuff. My first thought: Because most social media marketing campaigns will exist across multiple soc. media sites, make sure everything links back to everything else. For example, make sure that Flickr photos link back to your blog, and your twitter profile has a link to your main site.

  8. [ … A good social media marketer, a good brand, has taken the time to listen to the needs of their audience (their target client) and they deliver a product accordingly. But, and here’s where exceptional brands stand out and differ… Exceptional brands deliver beyond the product. They create and deliver a brand experience by being responsive/engaging and sharing in the conversation. They not only listen, they respond. …]

  9. The Social Media Bug Bites (Again)
    Viral marketing and bugs… Sounds like an internet medical emergency. On the contrary, we are experiencing a paradigm shift that I believe is a healthy combination of authenticity and honesty. Social media marketing is attracting much attention an…

  10. Well, considering my blog. I think having a consistent, professional quality photograph would be a good topic for me to blog about. Plus there is nothing worse then a big question mark or generic icon representing a person or company on a social site.
    But, I do have an etiquette question about placing your web site address below your name. I do it all the time as, I believe, a good practice. Especially if you are regularly contributing quality comments.
    I recently had a run in with a blogger objecting to my practice.
    Any thoughts?
    Rosh
    http://www.newmediaphotographer.com

  11. Hey Rosh,
    I don’t feel one way or the other on this. I usually just use my name and company as my “name” in the comment (see above) with a link to my Blog there.
    I think people prefer this as it saves space and anybody who wants to click through can do so on your name.
    Just my two cents.

  12. Hi Mitch I actually wrote a post about the 7 deadly sinse of social media marketing, But the overall theme of the post was this: You need to listen. A marketer could be rolling out all sorts of initiatives but if they aren’t listening to the community, then what’s the point? 4 years ago I was the community manager of a pretty robust bbs/social net. Hindsight was, I did not listen. Identify your brand champions and listen to what their thoughts and opinions are on everything. This will guide you like no other social media marketing endeavor can.

  13. Inclusion: My choice for social media marketing best practice

    Mitch Joel, over at Six Pixels of Separation, has challenged a number of us (and by playing the "tag" game, a growing list of other people) to share a social media marketing best practice. Mitch's own post highlights consistency as a …

  14. Hi Mitch,
    My ‘best practice’ would be to participate where your audience participates. My audience (Moms) Blog – so we blog and participate in their blogs. My audience does not participate in myspace (generalizing here!), but does participate in facebook – so we FB. My audience is about advice, conversations, stories and being helpful – so that’s what we try and to in all social media.
    It’s not just a matter of being consistent and prolific, but strategic. I could knock myself out on myspace – but it won’t get me anywhere.

  15. Hi Mitch,
    The social media marketing practice I consider the best is to Be Vigilant. You can read my full post here: http://onlinemarketerblog.com/2008/09/09/social-media-best-practice-be-vigilant/
    Also, I’m proud to say that two of the folks I tagged have also posted on the subject.
    Rick Leibling at eyecube suggested building a DINU:
    http://eyecube.wordpress.com/2008/09/09/best-practices-in-social-media/
    And Harry Hoover at THINKing suggested *always* being yourself:
    http://www.my-creativeteam.com/blog/?p=828
    Thanks for starting all this, Mitch!
    DJ
    PS: Big fan of SPOS – listen every week. Great work!

  16. Best practices in social media: Invest in it
    Last week I got tagged by Gavin Heaton to add my story to an evolving conversation and collection of insights on “best practices in social media.” Mitch Joel over at Six Pixels of Separation kicked this meme off, and since then, a number of really smar…

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