The 4 C’s of Social Media

Back in 1998 I started building my first website for an Insurance company. The CEO had heard that in one of my graduate school classes I had had to submit a class project using html. He decided that I was just the person he was looking for to build the companies first website.

It was true that I had used html in that project, but all I really did was sit next to a project member while he copied snippets of code from a book to create our first web page. At the time I started creating the companies website it was cool and cutting edge to have a website but it wasn’t necessarily viewed as a business requirement. That would change over the next year.

In 2010 I think we’re at a similar point. Social Media/Networking is still viewed by some as not a business requirement but I expect that will change over the next year. Some will do so because they get it, others because they fear getting left behind. Even if they’re not sure what it is they might be left behind by.

To start off the new year I’m going to discuss what I call the 4 C’s of social media. These are the four concepts we focus on with our clients.

Traditional advertising and marketing is about interrupting. Social media is about sharing and interacting. You have to have someone listening in order for interactions to happen.

The interesting thing is that people want to interact. The following statistics make that clear.

  • 78% of social media users interact with companies or brands via new media sites and tools, an increase of 32% from 2008.
  • 95% of new media users also believe companies or brands should have a social media presence
  • 89% believe that they should interact with their consumers using social media

Its important that you build communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter that are made up of your prospects and clients.

Content is King. Its been that way since cavemen began writing on walls. Since then only the means of delivery has changed.

One of the mistakes I see is companies jump into using social media and immediately begin communicating sales messages. A sales message here and there is likely fine but when its all you do…Houston we have a problem.

Regardless of what you sell someone out there is looking for information about it. They want to be informed, educated, and even entertained. If they like your content they will like you. If you share good content consistently over time they will likely begin to trust you.

Social media provides great vehicles to share video, photo’s, written, and audio content.

The difference between traditional advertising and marketing and social media is the difference between talking at someone and talking with them. If you’ve built the right communities and are sharing the right content conversations should naturally happen.

There are different levels of conversations. A comment on a blog post, a retweet, a comment on your LinkedIn or Facebook status are all forms of conversations. Tou just need to be sure you are tracking these responses and reply back.

Even something that seems as trivial as a “Thumbs Up” on a Facebook wall post is a positive. The important thing is you put out a message or content and someone chose to respond.

These conversations and those among others will have an impact. These two statistics support this.

  • 51% of respondents saying that social media has influenced their online transactions.
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations

The final piece of the puzzle is for the preceding steps to lead to conversion. If you’ve taken the time to develop a strategy than all of the pieces should work together to lead to this point.

One of the mistakes that I see is that companies indiscriminately send people to their home page. While that may help you build site traffic it may not necessarily help you with conversion.

If you’re communicating about a product or service why not funnel any responses into a Landing page. Seth Godin has been talking about landing pages since 1991 and lists five actions that the page can generate:

  • Get a visitor to click (to go to another page, on your site or someone else’s)
  • Get a visitor to buy
  • Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up (by email, phone, etc.). This includes registration of course.
  • Get a visitor to tell a friend
  • (and the more subtle) Get a visitor to learn something, which could even include posting a comment or giving you some sort of feedback

Your home page can generate these five same actions but its not designed to focus on one of these five actions specifically. Sending them here is like sending them to a neighborhood rather than a specific location.

Wrap Up
The 4 C’s are important if you want social media to work for you. There are different ways to build communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. There are different ways to communicate messages on each. The conversations are even different.

Focus on applying the first three to each of the networks and begin to see the Fourth C happening a little (maybe a lot more) frequently.

What do you think?

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

Published by

Sean Nelson

Sean has been a Keynote speaker at Norvax University, conducts social media workshops and webinars, and has released three books on LinkedIn and written several social media guides. Sean currently runs Social Media Sonar, which in addition to providing free resources, manages social media strategies and tactics for companies. He is also a partner in Surge Labs, a conversion rate optimization company, helping companies improve conversions and profitability through scientific testing of Landing Pages, Websites, Email communications, and Shopping Carts.