A Basic Social Media Strategy

Matthew Ebel Scares Me Yesterday, I gave you my social media toolkit (and if you’re extra clever, click that link to read the comments section, because folks made some great additions to the primary post). Jeff Pulver asked you about about social media strategies. Here are a few ways to put this together and consider a strategy around your use of social media and networks. (Note: there are TONS of ways to consider there, so these are just examples).

Case Study: Independent Musician

If I were an independent musician looking to make a living without the backing of major record labels ( example of such a person), I’d probably employ the following tools:

  • Use BlogTV or Ustream to broadcast live shows.
  • Use MySpace because they have better musician support built into their system, and because music types are using that medium.
  • Use Twitter to reach my audience, tell them up-to-the-minute stuff about my gigs, and point them to promotions, as well as engage in talks about the music.
  • Blog, and maybe do a videoblog of behind-the-scenes stuff, too.
  • Use a communications management software like Publicaster to handle mailing lists and track promotions.
  • Use Google Blogsearch and Technorati to track mentions of me.

I’d use these tools for the following three driving purposes:

  1. Reach more fans and point them towards where they can sample/buy my stuff.
  2. Reach booking agents and perhaps media buyers who could pay me for my performances or license my materials.
  3. Keep awareness of my music and my performances high, to stay current.

My measurements would be fairly easy. I could see how my mailings went. I could track blog hits. I could use my search tools to see who’s talking about me where, and engage them. And I could track plays of my media, spikes in purchases tied to my campaigns, and more. I would have a fairly okay ecosystem built where I could communicate, see conversations, share extras, and build that relationship.

BONUS ROUND: for participation, I could release the vocals and music tracks separately for some of my songs, and let fans remix them. I could solicit folks to make videos of my songs and release them on YouTube or Blip.tv (depending on my rights requirements). I would simply request proper linkback and tagging to the materials they create, so that I could drive more traffic and awareness back to me, while promising to promote the remixes and videos I liked, so as to share in the conversational wealth.

Case Study: Software Company

If I were a software shop with a new application, here’s what I might do to cook up awareness:

  • Immediately build a companion Facebook application.
  • Have a strong blog, with stories behind the app, behind-the-scenes stuff, links to people blogging about you, more.
  • Build a video how-to to accompany the app (extra points for having someone interesting to watch like Jaman did with their Jamanista).
  • Use the tracking tools (Technorati, Google Blogsearch, etc).
  • Start conversations with podcasters and videobloggers most likely to try your tool and offer interviews and demos.
  • Maybe Twitter, if you can not just blather about your app. Use it to communicate.

With software, the model lately seems to be to get someone influential like Robert Scoble or Stowe Boyd or Mike Arrington or Om Malik to cover you. Be VERY clued into what each one really cares about and covers. Don’t just reach out to people blindly. Read a big fat stream of their blogs to see what matters to them, and then start a conversation. Don’t pitch like it’s a blunt instrument. Instead, be friendly, add to the conversation, and offer a peek at what you’ve got.

From there, it’s great to be hit with traffic from Digg and Reddit and SlashDot, but it’s just as important to get friends as users on your side. Better still if they’re friends with Twitter or Pownce, and can draw more users to your site to try out your cool new app.

Know who did this well? Thomas Hawk with Zooomr. Sure he was already friends with some great influencers, but what excited me about his launch was watching it live on Ustream.tv, complete with all the pain and suffering of when things didn’t go just so at the launch. Wow, what a saga. And if you want to try a different photo sharing/storing/tagging/organizing application, just based on the great way he used social media to build awareness, I’d recommend you try out Zooomr.

Lots of Other Cases

I picked two potential users of a social media strategy to start. There are no doubt dozens of other ways I could have talked about this, and the above is mostly just a thumbnail of what to consider. There’s clearly more to strategy than telling people which applications to use, and giving them a few bulleted ways to use them. But my point was different than that. I wanted you to start thinking along these lines for YOU and your business, even if that business is personal branding.

A related post (coming soon) will be about how I use these tools. I get a lot of comments around the idea that I seem to be out there trying everything that comes along, and that I’m showing people how to use all these things in different ways. Yep, that’s utterly true. Why? Because I’m out there building strategies and points and ideas on how people not named Chris Brogan can use these things for their own ends. It’s cool that I get it, but what will really turn my world upside down is when you’re all off doing your own variations on the theme and then schooling ME on what you changed up.

Where are you taking social media? What have you learned? How have you tied it back to something more meaningful to yourself (be that business or community at large?)

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