Social-Media Rules of Engagement
You hear a lot of talk about the need for openness and transparency in the social-media space, but what does it really mean to be transparent? According to Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group, marketers need to focus on being as open as they need to be to make their marketing efforts on behalf of their brands effective. Needless to say, that takes a bit of advanced planning.
Here's how Li suggests you go about forging the right level of social-media transparency:
Define your "sandbox covenants." Every brand has a sandbox covenant—that is, a series of engagement rules that, if broken, have clear consequences, Li says. These covenants need to be clarified and understood in advance by all your social representatives, she notes.
Recognize that your users have a sandbox, too. The limits of the users' sandbox are defined by what they consider to be appropriate behavior with regard to your brand. For example, most users expect a "conversation" with a Microsoft representative to feel formal and corporate. In contrast, a "conversation" with an Apple representative, say at an Apple Store's Genius Bar, is expected to be more casual.
Make your sandbox limits clear, and respect your users' limits. Once this step is accomplished, you can begin to experience the magic of a blossoming relationship. As your comfort with each other grows across a given social medium, your respective sandboxes will gradually expand to accommodate new expectations—and, eventually, a healthy dose of positive feedback and collaboration.
Connecting through social media is about developing relationships. Strong ones grow from a clear foundation based on boundaries and rules of engagement, Li concludes.
The Po!nt: Play nice. Respect your users' invisible sandbox lines, and be open about your own; you may find sandcastles forming sooner than you thought possible!
Looking for great social media marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Social Media Marketing Factbook (May 2010). With 140 pages and 102 charts, it is full of relevant social media marketing stats and trends. The Social Media Marketing Factbook is Part 5 of the complete Digital Marketing Factbook (our 296-page full report).