You can tell the future marketers in kindergarten—they're the ones who stutter as they get to P when they recite the alphabet. So, in the fine tradition of forced alliteration in mnemonics, I present my 4 Ps for social media to add to your collection.
If your alphabet drawer is overstocked with Ps, these writers have other collections of letters you might find interesting (and useful, all):
- 4 Cs of blogging (David Armano)
- 4 As of blogging (Valeria Maltoni)
- 4 Ps of blog marketing (Steve Rubel)
- 4 Fs of citizen marketing (Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba)
- 4 Ms of social media marketing (Simon McDermott)
- 5 Es of marketing (John Dodds)
- 3 Cs of Search (Gord Hotchkiss)
Pay attention to what's happening online and understand what it means to your business. Learn your way around the online environment (or hire a native guide). Know where people are talking about you—and your competitors—and listen to what they're saying (this has tactical and strategic applications). Notice when something new appears, and don't be caught off guard when someone else asks you about it.
Be prepared to react to events in social media. Customers complain; help them. If they point out product problems or areas for improvement, get that information to your product group. When critics gripe or point out your flaws, be prepared to respond—if not to the critics, to the mainstream media who might also read their complaints.
Join in relevant online discussions. Comment on blogs, join online communities. Understand and follow online norms and policies, avoid the Streisand Effect, and don't try to subvert the medium (by, for example, using a fake identity). Be appropriate, and you can be a constructive part of the conversation.
Once your listening skills are solid and you understand the new online environment, it's ok to use them yourself! Blogs, media sharing and social networking sites can be useful for promoting your business (just avoid the activities that lead to active opposition). Social media are also good for projecting your personal brand. As you speak, just remember to keep listening. This is a world of two-way communication, and listening will tell you how your speaking is going over.
Next: the 4 Bs and a P of Raspberries.