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Social Media best practices meme – points for a strong social media strategy foundation

Dusting of my social media links in my Google Reader, found an interesting meme being passed around that just happened to touch on a few water cooler discussions I’ve had in the last couple of days. Seems that the discussion around social media has started to evolve to a ‘best practices discussion (started by Mitch Joel)‘.

Now my water cooler discussions were more centered around the lofty ‘what is social media’ discussion…which I’m currently boiling down to – social media is just content and should be treated as such (I do think it is more than that, but for space/arguement on the blog…running with that this morning). After reading through several of the linking posts on the best practices meme, ended up with a couple of favorites that I think are related to what I think is a best practice for social media…or a starting place for a social media game plan.

When I first started advising team members and clients on social media I recommended a strategy to do one of two things for consumers in social media land. We needed to either 1) give consumers something to talk about or 2) a place for consumers to say something (ok, you could/should do both).

I felt that running with this strategy would lead brand stakeholders to a wide range of tactics…with the key being that they would now be at least participating with consumers in some form/function, which to me was key.

So after wading through some of the best practices posts, found a couple that I think relate to my thinking and either add to, evolve, or compliment it.

Jason Falls leads off with ‘embrace your audience‘. Which I twist to – know your audience (embracing to means know that you know your audience to a certain degree). This is a key foundation point…know who you are going to be participating with and what they want/like/feel/etc.

Beth Harte raises the point of ‘provide a platform‘. Give you consumers a place to chat, get them going. And I really like that she cuts to the chase and adds, “Why wait for those limited occasions?”. Lead your consumers with a place to chat if they don’t have one. And if they do, give them extensions there to help them talk.

And if they are well cemented with there own places to chat, then follow Kipp Bodnar advice and create value for your consumers. I would evolve that a tad and say, create value with them. Play the curator role and serve information/content for the discussions happening out there. Respond to issues that people are having and know when to peel back the certain and let your brand story out.

All these points I think can lead to a strong foundation strategy which then we can modify from client to client. To me, that is what leads to some of the social media best practices.

I know I need to embellish more on my initial thoughts that I think all social media is just content. I’ll try to get back to that soon…maybe after I’ve had my coffee this morning.