“Power friending is a social media approach built around authenticity. The goal is to build a network of real friends around your brand, developing relationships based on mutual respect and support.” - Power Friending: Demystifying social media to grow your business, Amber Mac
Virtually every business worth its salt is either already leveraging social media or is trying to establish some form of social media strategy. Though some may say Facebook and Twitter are just “an opportunity to practice narcissism in a socially acceptable way,” the fact, according to comScore, is that Facebook now represents 5.5% of all time spent online (up from 2.5% the previous year). Social media is not just a fad, and a sound strategy is important to the success of your business!
Amber Mac’s Power Friending provides great case studies (both successes and failures) and easy-to-understand, tactical information on how to implement an effective social media strategy for your company. Though I felt the book is geared toward novices like me, it contains tips that I passed along to our team which they agreed were great ideas worth implementing at OrangeSoda (hopefully not just to pacify me).
The author provides basic rules on how to engage customers through social media, which she outlines as the ABCs. A is for Authenticity. At OrangeSoda, some of the team call this the Backyard Barbecue Principal. You wouldn’t feel inclined to attend a backyard barbecue if the host:
- Planned on trying to sell you something
- was stiff and awkward
- planned on forcing you to consume what you didn’t want
- tricked you into coming
Ms. Mac provides ample examples of what constitutes an authentic voice online.
B is for Bravery. Participating in social media at all requires the bravery to understand that criticism is likely to come. Additionally, bravery is required to attempt a social media campaign that will generate buzz.
C is for Consistency. Erratic and inconsistent participation in social media will not yield optimal results, and Ms. Mac provides both case studies and logical explanations of the importance of this principle.
“One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make when they first start to consider social media to grow their brand is expecting an instant and measurable return on investment (ROI). If you think that building relationships online is going to immediately result in profit, you should reset your expectations.”
In determining your company’s social media strategy, the above statement from the book is accurate…to a degree. There are multiple channels/uses of social media that can create near-term financial rewards. The author outlines great examples of near-term kickback (both in the form of cost savings and revenue upside). There are also other channels that are much longer term in potentially yielding a “return on engagement” of a community. The key is to determine your company’ specific goals and then create a plan around those goals. An example of near-term ROI can be a Twitter coupon campaign.
Tools and Tactics
Rather than just provide the case studies and pontificate on the merits of social media, Ms. Mac provides lists of both free and paid tools that can be used to implement and track aspects of a social media campaign. She also provides pretty detailed tactics around effective blogging, micromessaging, social networking, video creation, podcasting, and use of mobile tools and wikis. This makes the book not just a good one time read, but a ready reference, as well.
An experienced social media “Community Manager” may not find anything earth-shattering in this book, but it is great for an executive team or business owner without significant social media knowledge or experience. Even those with some solid experience would likely benefit from referencing the best practices and tools outlined in Power Friending to ensure optimal “return on engagement.”
We’ll be giving away a copy of Amber’s book at the end of the week and we’ll be wrapping up the contest with a special guest post from Amber. Enter the contest by either linking to this post on Twitter or leave a comment on this post about what confuses you most about social media.