23 September 2008

Best Practices

I got tagged by Kim Woodbridge to discuss best practices in social media marketing. (Thanks, Kim.) I'm excited to participate and I hope I do this justice.

I've said it before - I don't consider myself a "marketing" person. I'm not a PR person. I'm not even an online person. I don't like labels because they confine what we do. I don't adhere to dogma. I don't have a style. I know it's not about me. But best practices is something I take seriously - every other week I hold a virtual meeting with my social media team and we discuss a best practices case study. It's one of the most important things I do.

I've written about the Three R's of Blogger Relations and I've tried to engage communities directly on a number of issues. But the common thread that runs through every social media project I've worked on is this: identify the people who shape opinion in their online communities, build relationships with them, and help them drive the discussion. This isn't an online media relations exercise. This is a process that takes a long time - it's not something that you can easily switch on the day a client hires you. So that's why I spend my time diving into online communities, identifying leaders and quietly building relationships, before I'm ever hired.

The most recent example of this, I hope, is the work we did with Families for Depression Awareness and Parent Bloggers Network. We noticed that moms talk quite a bit about the stresses of everyday life, so we asked them a few questions and we let them drive the discussion. Then we added experts and advocates from FFDA to the discussion - giving moms more information and resources while strengthening the organization's credibility and reach. Now if you look at Motherhood Uncensored you'll see a badge in the sidebar that says "learn more about how depression affects you and your family." This happened really for two reasons - Kristen Chase (along with her colleague, Julie Marsh) showed some leadership took some initiative, and FFDA was willing to get to know her.

None of this outreach was especially high-tech, and it didn't make the New York Times, but I'd like to think it was effective because there are now a dozen more opinion-leading moms who had the gumption to tackle a tough issue and help spread the word to other moms that help is available.

So there ya go, Six Pixels. (nice idea to get link love, btw.) Personally I'd love to know what Mark Story has to say about all this.

1 comment:

Kim Woodbridge said...

Hi David,

Thank you for participating. I was actually very surprised when I was tagged for this project. You were one of the first people I thought of to ask to write something as well.

It's true that listening and developing the right contacts can take some time. It requires a patience that many marketing types don't seem to have.

I followed the Mom project earlier this summer and like how you related that work to the social media marketing topic.