All About Brand Advocates and Social Marketing

There are no true experts or gurus in this social media space — we are ALL still trying to figure this out. When I said that at the 140 Character’s Conference: New York City (#140conf) the audience applauded… because we all assume that someone else has all the answers to social media marketing success.

The truth is that social media is still too new as a serious business tool for any one of us to know all the best social media marketing tactics or even understand best how to leverage every platform.

So why am I (@TedRubin) the #1 followed CMO on Twitter (and been so for close to two years) with over 54,000 followers? Because I don’t assume I know everything about social media marketing, so I focus my time on building relationships. Because I pay attention, respond to, and interact with my followers… and I am not afraid to experiment publicly to see what topics are most relevant to my network(s), and what content is most useful to them.

Think about it this way — what do you do when you are on a date?  You get to know someone.  You try various “tactics” and see which ones delight your date.  And then you keep going with what works — you don’t stop interacting and you try to stay interesting and relevant.  You keep communicating and you keep building the relationship by asking questions and sharing information about yourself to build trust, all while making yourself available and easy to reach.  (By the way, don’t forget our smart phones can actually make and receive PHONE CALLS!).

More than ever, marketing is about connecting to people.  Social media is simply a platform that facilitates the connection.  The different platforms will come and go, but the need to connect and build relationships with our audience members will only grow stronger. The more skilled we can become with building relationships, the greater chance that our brand will stand out in a crowd, both now and in the future.

Since all relationships are slightly different and there are no social media marketing gurus to tell you exactly how to do this, I highly recommend you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What if you took a few days to experiment with your social media marketing approach – what would you do differently?
  2. In what ways would you reach out to your audience and your consumers?
  3. How would you court them differently?
  4. How would you experiment with delighting them?

…. then go DO it! Your customers, and prospective customers, want “relevant” and “valuable” – so why not figure out what that is and give it to them??

Ted Rubin, Social Media Strategist

Ted has a deep online background beginning in 1997 with Seth Godin, as CMO of e.l.f. Cosmetics, & recently as Chief Social Marketing Officer, Open Sky

11 Responses to The Science of Social Media Marketing: Experiment, Experiment, Experiment!

  1. Forrest says:

    I like your dating analogy Ted. Dating is as old as time itself & as there are no real experts in that field either (although many hucksters claim to be), we learn on the fly.
    Should we be surprised that a relative infant called Social Media is, and will probably remain, an on-the-job training medium? I could go on a serious rant about how Soc. Media spammers are like the guy who asks his date for sex in the first 5 seconds, but you get my drift.

  2. Dan Zarrella says:

    You have zero empirical, scientific data to suggest that “building relationships” actually works for marketing purposes.

  3. Ted Rubin says:

    Dan… appreciate your input. My issue, and one I champion, is that many times, in many venues, we expect way to much from “scientific” data. Common sense, all too often forgotten in this analytical world many cherish, often trumps empirical data and analysis. Case in point… many product launches, scientifically analyzed as a “must” succeed, very often fail due to not truly understanding your audience, building an emotional connection or simply leaving too much to data and too little to intuition, inspiration and instinct.

  4. Dan Zarrella says:

    Again, nothing you’re saying is backed by any real data, still.

    For instance: “many product launches, scientifically analyzed as a “must” succeed” that is a falsifiable/provable statement. Prove it. Otherwise we’re left to believe you’re just making it up.

  5. Dan Zarrella says:

    “So why am I (@TedRubin) the #1 followed CMO on Twitter (and been so for close to two years) with over 54,000 followers?”

    I’ll give you a hint… It’s not because of “relationships.” It’s because you’re using automated (and very shady) agressive follow-unfollow churn scripts to follow hundreds of people a day and unfollow thousands in single days, just to get more followers.

    The proof:

  6. Ted Rubin says:

    Dan, as I am always quick to point out… I am not an expert or a guru, just a guy with opinions who is not afraid to voice them. As such, you are welcome to your opinion as well.

    I do not use any such “aggressive” churn script tools. I do employ tools to help me manage my presence, as many who understand their value do and I work very hard building my following. I periodically unfollow people who do not follow me back as Twitter makes this a necessary part (due to their ratio requirements) of building your presence if you want to consistently grow and follow back those who follow you (something I champion as does Guy Kawasaki).

    I stand by the fact that my presence, reach and influence is what it is due to the interaction and engagement I make a part of my daily use of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and the fact that the relationship building I do is authentic and genuine. In addition I spend each and every week meeting my followers face-to-face and further building those relationships. Happy to do the same with you some day. Feel free to reach out…

  7. Dave Galalnt says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Ted. Although we need to be seen as being a specialist by our clients, I really dislike being called an expert or “guru” (ugh, I can’t stand that one). Experimentation is what really teaches us what works and what doesn’t.

    Good post :)

  8. Dan Zarrella says:

    Ted, The Twitter terms of service and rules specifically forbid exactly what you’ve just said you do. Just an FYI.

  9. Steve Kubien says:

    Ted, I am with you on this. Relationships are essential to our very existence, be it in our personal lives or our business dealings. I would suggest (though I have no stats to back this up) that most of us prefer to spend our time with people we either like or care about on some level, as opposed to folks who offer nothing positive, whose only apparent purpose is to bring others down. My 40 years (there’s a statistic for you!) in the field leads me to this conclusion. To suggest that this is somehow different in the world of social media is preposterous.

    Well done Ted.

  10. Ted Rubin says:

    Thanks for the support Steve. Really appreciate your input.

  11. Rick says:

    Ted, also totally with you on this. Relying too heavily on scientic data is for the weak and those who focus on it are the fearful. Dan, saying marketing isn’t about relationships proves you know absolutely nothing about marketing.

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