"What advice would you give to a business owner overseeing a Twitter and email campaign?"

"What advice would you give to a business owner overseeing a Twitter and email campaign? How should they use each tool?"


This question was asked in an interview VentureBeat did with Scott Dorsey, CEO of ExactTarget and Jesse Engle, CEO of CoTweet. The answers they gave are a great summary of how you should view social media marketing.

For the full interview go to VentureBeat


VentureBeat: What advice would you give to a business owner overseeing a Twitter and email campaign? How should they use each tool?


Engle: It’s important to look at different social networks and community platforms and understand what they offer that’s unique and piece them together. For instance, I look at Flickr and YouTube as content repositories that have communities around them.

Facebook offers a richness for a consumer brand because it’s a destination where you can have lots of different types of interactions and media. It’s a good place to focus on building a community outside of your own site. Twitter is the place where you engage in real-time conversation and that’s the place you announce everything you do. It’s brings traffic and attention to what you do elsewhere.

Social media has changed what marketers need to do. There are things they’ve been able to control in the past that they can’t now. You used to be able to control what message gets sent out to what audience and what time and you didn’t have to deal with feedback.

The best thing to do is to engage in an authentic way. You have to be real and acknowledge shortcomings and failures and places where products or services break down. You have to demonstrate through engagement that you are really interested in what customers have to say, who they share media with and how they share them.

There is an expectation of transparency and authenticity. Those that try to fight it will get rooted out. I love the idea that the key strategy now is how to out-behave your competitors. How do you do a better job by being good and doing what’s right compared to your competitors? All of this is being driven by the forced transparency that social media is bringing out.

Dorsey: Tailor your message to the medium. Email gives you an opportunity to present images and content that can drive customers back to the web site. Twitter is very different. It’s more about short, pithy conversations. Email is one-way, while Twitter is very bi-directional; you have to listen to what’s being said and jump in. It’s also an interesting convergence of marketing and customer service.


Summary

It is very easy for a company or individual to get drawn into the world of social media marketing without knowing what they are trying to achieve.

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and the dozens of other networks and communities offer a fantastic opportunity to interact with customers and prospects. They can also steal your time like quicksand with little gain...or in some cases even have a negative impact.

Like with any marketing you must set goals, plan your activity and monitor the results. If you do this you will be ahead of 90% of all online businesses.