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Don’t Be A Wallflower! 3 Fundamentals Of Data Driven Community Outreach

Marty Weintraub
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wallflowerIt’s hard to get a hot dancing date, sitting at home alone, eating leftover Super Bowl food and watching “The Voice.” In social media as in life, one must get off one’s butt and venture out into the world to make friends.

Today in San Diego, I’ll have the pleasure of presenting a keynote at OMS. My presentation, “Optimizing Humans! The Art Of Data-Driven Social Marketing,” will focus on data-driven friending tactics, undertaking programmatic outreach to connect with themed personal & business authority users and how to collect them as friends for fun and profit. This post shares a few of the many points I’ll make.

Many (even most) corporate community managers are relatively passive, waiting on the wall for users to come to them. However there is a real power to assertively identifying themed conversations surrounding your corporate objectives, and diving right in. Here are three timeless essentials for community managers to consider.

Map Search Conversions To Conversations

No matter how “social” social media gets or until telepathy becomes the norm; humans will still utilize words while conversing. This holds true whether in English, German or Italian. Until that changes, marketers will be able to map important keywords from their search campaigns to conversations. 

Mapping keywords to conversations is a very simple process, actually. Start with your most important keywords that convert and seek out conversations surrounding them.

Let’s assume I sell hockey memorabilia or earmuffs. Obviously I would love to meet and get to know Facebook users who are engaged in threads surrounding local college hockey videos in Facebook.

Say I want to sell to UMD Bulldog hockey fans. Yep, they’re the current reigning NCAA D1 champs! (Couldn’t help myself.) There’s no way to search out Facebook video threads using Facebook internal search, so let’s take advantage of Google’s “site:” search operator using a “footprints.” I want the thread to be relatively current, so let’s include “January” and “2012.”

google-site-search-facebook-umd-hockey

Sure enough, there’s a video from about a week ago. Wow, that looks like an excellent thread to hop in to and make friends. Sure, it takes some finesse, but don’t doubt that you and your charming self could converse and make some fast puck buddies.

facebook-michigan-tech-hockey-comments

There are numerous methods, in pretty much any social channel, to map keywords to conversations:

  • Test Twitter advanced search with negative filtering to eliminate noise and find real users. 
  • Leverage YouTube’s TestTube YouTube comments search to find relevant threads. 
  • Search blogs using their internal search engines or Google.

Practice Non-Gratuitous Social Behavior

Once you’ve located these conversations surrounding keywords, what next? Many social media marketers start selling at that point, which is usually a total fail.

Users frequent social media to be social, not prey. Treat them with respect. After all, the best way to make friends is to be friendly. The best way to get people to like you is to be…well…likeable. There will be time enough for sales.

Regardless of the channel, the following basics always work.

  • Rebroadcast. Tweet, share, Stumble, whatever... Just make sure to add some sort of additional value. Contribute your little comment or twist. Make the original cooler for your input.
  • Ask questions. It always floors me when community managers respond to heartfelt comments by saying, “Thanks for stopping by.” Work to get another round of interactions by asking, “Who,” “Why,” “Where,” “When,” or “How.” Answering comment threads with questions is an awesome method for spurring on additional conversation.
  • Thank people for the conversation and tell em’ you are enjoying it. Don’t be gratuitous. That means not to be gushy, fake, presumptuous, or patronizing. Just behave real and actually be social. The rest will take care of itself if you're authentic.

Amplify Organic Behavior With Paid

Little has been written about how Facebook has cut off truly organic EdgeRank, in favor of selling off formally organic real estate via ad units. Theses days it’s much more difficult to distribute Facebook community activity without writing a substantial daily check to Facebook.

The larger the community goals, the bigger the bill.

  • StumbleUpon sells paid stumbles, which are virtually indistinguishable from organic activity. 
  • Twitter inserts tweets that advertisers pay for, slipping users the organic fish. 
  • YouTube promoted videos and other ad units can seriously seed viral flares that would not have been ignited absent a paid assist.

Any organic social media marketer is Pollyanna if they believe that paid social target contextual ad units shouldn’t be a key part of organic marketing. Make it your business to completely understand how paid social works in whatever channels you’re investing in.

So fearless social media marketer, don’t sit on that wall and wait for the action to come to you! Identify conversations that matter to your objective.

Get out there and meet some people! Make sure once you’re there, that you behave well and act appropriately sociable without being nauseating. Stay in tune with how organic lift can be attained with short burst social advertising. Enjoy!

Image Credit: ©Scott Griessel - Fotolia


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