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Tips are healthy for businesses, since they act as a navigator, with tips from trusted pros you do not need to pay the penalty of making some fatal mistakes. Experience is not necessarily the best teacher, because some failures are too fatal that it would be wise to learn from others mistake and avoid.

Here are some social media marketing tips from trusted pros:

#1: Identify Your Outcomes

Ric Dragon

When we talk about the best thing to do in social media marketing for any given business, we have to begin with what that business is trying to achieve—its “desired outcomes.”

The best thing for a manufacturer of underarm deodorant is likely to be something quite different from what might be best for a company that tests those same products.

Before you go jumping into one platform or another, imagine what it would require for you or the company to go out and buy a $1,000 bottle of champagne and share it with the team. That’s your “1K Champagne Result.”

Start thinking about your 1K Champagne Results. Image source: iStockphoto

The next part of the puzzle is to understand that not all social media efforts are the same. There are some really big differences in approaches, and thus outcomes. The five big approaches are:

  • Brand maintenance—monitor your channels and respond when appropriate, and perhaps post a bit here and there.
  • Community-building—whether it’s internal advocates, external brand ambassadors or groups of people who share the underlying passions of the brand, in this work you endeavor to join and nurture community.
  • Influencer outreach—identify and engage the people who are influential around your passion pointsor industry.
  • Reputation management and development—the project wherein you either repair or develop thought leadership or positive reputation.
  • The big splash—these are the big creative campaigns that garner a lot of short-term attention.

You might very well decide on a mix of these five approaches. If you start by thinking about your 1K Champagne Results, you can more easily line up your big approaches with whatever it is that’s going to make that cork go flying across the room.

Ric Dragon, co-founder and CEO of DragonSearch, author of Social Marketology and DragonSearch Online Marketing Manual.

#2: Become the Wikipedia of Your Industry

Marcus Sheridan

Over the last couple of years, a very interesting shift has occurred with each and every one of us who use the Internet. And what is this shift?

We’ve all grown incredibly impatient online.

In other words, if we go to a business’s website, and we can’t find what we’re looking for, it bothers us. We get frustrated quickly. And unlike a few years ago when we might have “hung around” to try to find the answers we were looking for, we now move on quickly—knowing that if we keep searching, we’ll eventually find a website that has the answer(s) we seek.

Interestingly enough, although we’ve all grown more impatient when it comes to websites that don’t bother giving us the answers we’re looking for, we’ve also grown more loyal once we stumble upon the information jackpot.

Basically, if we feel a website is a true “go-to source” for information and answers, we’ll keep coming back—again and again and again.

It’s for this reason that the best social media strategy any company can take in 2013 and beyond is to become a true teacher (Wikipedia) within their industry. The golden rule of marketing is this:

They ask, you answer.

In other words, if a consumer has ever asked a question, you should be answering it on your website. And considering most industries have literally thousands of potential consumer questions, content should always be growing, evolving and added to.

After owner Steve Sheinkopf followed the “They Ask, You Answer” strategy for his company’s content marketing approach in 2012, the Boston-based business Yale Appliance watched their web traffic, along with sales, explode.

With the average business website answering about 10 consumer questions, if a company is willing to follow the “They Ask, You Answer” mentality, amazing results will often occur. The brand will grow. Traffic on the site will increase. And above all else, sales will likely have a huge upturn.

Marcus Sheridan, co-owner of River Pools and Spas, the founder of—an educational site on selecting the right pool, founder of The Sales Lion.

#3: Like Your Customers on Facebook

Mitch Joel

Instead of asking your consumers to like your brand on Facebook, why don’t you start liking them?

Most brands use Facebook as an extension of their traditional and mass-marketing initiatives. As such, we have what can only be described as an “arms race” for likes on Facebook.

The average person on Facebook has 120-200 connections (depending on whom you ask… and when).

Start liking your customers on Facebook. Image source: iStockphoto

As big as Facebook is, it’s actually many, many, very small circles of close (and semi-close) connections.

Facebook and brands are less about advertising and much more about creating, nurturing and developing a more direct relationship between individuals and the brands that serve them. This isn’t for all brands. This isn’t for all consumers. This is (still) a massive opportunity for those who can rise above a traditional advertising strategy.

Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image, blogger and podcaster, author of Six Pixels of Separation and the forthcoming book CRTL ALT Delete.

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