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In your life , be :
* Precision - Find and identify the areas in social media land where the people who engage with you
* Observe and Monitor - Listen to the conversations look for sentiment, authority and reach, and set up tools (there are loads out there) to regularly update you on these conversations.
* Don't Dive In - Before reacting and getting involved in groups, blogs, forums etc. think carefully about your approach. Sometimes it's best to let your advocates do the talking, sometimes it's good for you to take part in a subtle manner. If the tone of the conversation is negative, be polite, be honest and offer support.
* Give - Always offer something of value. This is when getting involved in a reactive manner or proactively creating your own social media content. Value can be classed as good information and insight or even providing "VIP" offers and treatment...it also needs to be offered for free, no catches!
* Entertain - If you're creating groups, apps or widgets in social media/networks be entertaining and fun. That's what people want and that's what will encourage the viral aspect. Do not compromise your brand personality however.
* Right Time & Place - Be there for your target audience when they want you and where they already spend their time. Consider the mobile platform seriously. Mobile devices have finally reached the point where surfing the web is now akin to the computer.
* Be Social - Don't always be about "YOU". People will quickly become bored if you're always talking about your brand, product or service. Take an interest in the people you want to engage with and offer something they can use in their social life....it is social media after all!
* Think Awareness - and nothing more. If your involvement in social media raises your awareness, in a positive manner then that is great. If it also creates interest and involvement then that's a bonus. Don't expect commitment. Such brand approaches via social media will appear very shallow and you'll damage your reputation.
* Forget ROI - This will be a tough one!! Measuring the return from the investment in social media is probably impossible today. (Coca Cola has recognised this.)
* Do It ! Plan your approach; open your brand up to your your friends , colleagues and customers ; encourage interaction and synchronise your activity with your other marketing initiatives.
These tips all need to be in the balanced to suit your target market and your brand. There is no single best practice approach, that would be like creating a best practice for making friends and influencing people!
We're all individuals and make our own choices of how to act and what to say and will rebel against control. So, get involved and go with the flow.
An example of how powerful it can be, if done well, is the release of Radiohead's last album. They offered a name your own price for downloading it online, from free upwards; they achieved higher revenues for the album this way than through the CD sales from the High Street. Who'd have planned that ROI?!
by Karl Havard