Monday, March 7, 2011

Everything I Need to Know About Social Media I Learned from a Kindergartener

Source: Chordially Yours

Did you know that parents have been preparing their kids for social media marketing since they were young? It's amazing what you can learn from a 5-year-old these days! Here are 10 rules to live by from the school playground to your digital sandbox.

1. ALWAYS LISTEN. How many times do parents tell their kids to listen up? Monitoring online conversations is one of the most important activities that every brand needs to engage in. It's a great source for consumer and competitive intelligence to shape your social media game plan.

2. TELL THE TRUTH. Parents teach kids to be honest and to tell the truth. Because of how visible and viral social media is, if you lie, someone will undoubtedly catch you in the tangled web you've woven.

3. DON'T HIDE STUFF. This goes with #2. Somehow parents always ended up finding out about the truth. So, be transparent and don't hide things. Because once the word gets out, you've got a PR crisis on your hands. Much worse than no Wii for 2 weeks!

4. BE YOURSELF. Kids, don't pretend to be someone you are not. And especially not so that someone else will like you! Companies, such as Wal-Mart and its PR firm Edelman, have been caught red-handed in impersonating customers or fans. Fake consumer reviews and other black hat tactics go against WOMMA guidelines and never end well. Now, there are reports of the US Government using fake social media profiles to sway public opinion.

5. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS. This is simple. If you screwed up, own up to it ASAP! Because it'll just be a matter of time before your Facebook wall and Twitter feed is bombarded with consumer responses. 

6. PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS. One of the key tests from advancing from pre-school. How well do you play with others? Remember, you can't expect to control the messaging anymore. It surprises me so many big brands still think they can. At best, you need to earn the right to be part of the community, as your voice will be equal to other community members.

7. SAY THANK YOU. What are kids told to do when grandma gives them a cookie? Say thank you. Consumers are eager to engage with their favorite brands in social media. In some cases, they are helping brands innovate by sharing ideas or testing new products. An occasional "thank you" from brands is much appreciated in social spaces.

8. SHARE. Make sure every content developed or curated by your brand in social spaces is easily shareable by others with others in the community.

9. HAVE AN EMERGENCY PLAN. Whether it's fire drills or learning the evacuation procedures on  classroom walls, children are taught to prepare for an emergency very early on. Social media marketers need an "emergency plan" too. Having an escalation policy and game plan should online conversations go south is a must.

10. HAVE SOME FUN. The more enduring attributes of kids is their ability to have fun every day. Marketing is serious business. But also recognize the social channel is more casual and conversational than traditional media and PR. Have fun with it. Be human.

What have you learned about social media from a kindergartener lately?


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