A few weeks ago I received a targeted email communication from a print supplier inviting me (and other recipients in the design & marketing world) to join them as they <em>'ride the social media wave</em>'. Nice. That phrase set alarm bells ringing immediately. The tone was admittedly self-deprecating, but reminded me of when an avowed Luddite or digital sceptic finally gets an iPhone and parades it around telling you how they are 'down with all the touchy-screen hipster kids now!'. Well done. Now you can leave that one turned off 95% of the time too. <strong><em>Seriously,</em> what's in it for me? </strong>What struck me immediately was that there was no mention in this email of what we might expect to gain from following them or joining their Facebook community, no suggestion that there might be some intrinsic value in there. How about some useful tips on design considerations for pre-press? How to get the most from your printed marketing material? How to make your print budget go a bit further? It really made me think<em> 'What on earth is in this for me?'. </em>Maybe they are waiting for the Twitter Gods to reveal these secrets once they start their microblogging odyssey. <strong>Buy before you try </strong>Twitter often feels like something you can dip your toe in and just try. After all it's pretty instant and anyone can manage to say something in 140 characters right? And Facebook, well all our customers will join us won't they? There are our customers for goodness' sake. I'd venture to say that's wrong, and what you actually need to do is to <em>buy into it</em> before you <em>try</em>. In much the same way you would with any marketing channel or tactic it's rather a good idea to consider what your objective is. <strong>What does success look like</strong>? Social media isn't free, it takes a commitment of time and resources. So if you're going to try to do something you should have an idea of what success would actually look like. If that goal is to reach a certain number of followers and fans then there's a start right there. Worth considering too if it will allow you to reach an audience you can't already reach, or add some depth to your existing relationships. And as with any marketing campaign, it's important to analyse and measure what you do. And keep doing that again and again. So thanks, but I won't be joining that particular wave right now. I never much liked surfing anyway.
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