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By Sue Marchese, Director of Business Development, Production Solutions

Senior Strategist of Social Media at Living Social, Jason Peck ironically thought back in 2007 that “Twitter is for stalkers, thieves and jealous girlfriends.”  Fast forwarding to Jason’s presentation at the DMAW’s October Lunch & Learn, Jason now not only embraces Twitter today, but he encourages direct marketers to think carefully about three key things when it comes to social media:

  • What are your objectives?
  • How can they scale successfully?
  • How can you get the greatest impact with the least amount of effort?

Jason advised to start with social media objectives and not buzzwords.  He challenged the group to consider:

  • How will things change at your company by having a social media (in terms of revenue, perception of your product/service, increased yield, etc.)
  • How can you go from reactive to proactive
  • When, where and how do you reach new audiences
  • How do you turn objectives into reality and not just an exercise in the process?  Set targets: (e.g. increase revenues by X% by X, 2012)
  • What kind of valuable content will you offer up to differentiate yourselves?

Next, after your strategy and objectives are well-thought through, how do you make it all scale?  He tackled that rhetorical question from the organic versus paid perspective about building a community.

Social sharing drives invaluable traffic, and according to a study by Sociablelabs.com, a friend talking about a product on Facebook is almost as valuable as an organic Google Search for that product (48% helpfulness vs. 49% helpfulness).  Further, Jason swears that SSO (Social Sharing Optimization) is the new SEO.   He advises that all direct marketers think about SSO and how social sharing can be integrated into all aspects of their social media strategy.  He argues that social sharing needs to have compelling metrics to track it, i.e. sales conversions, traffic to your website via social sharing, how many click-throughs from your shared content, etc…but we’re not there yet.   Social Sharing has its pain points, among them, besides the fact that it’s hard to tell how social sharing affects Key Performance Indicators, not enough people are sharing and what’s being shared is not all that interesting or valuable.

Nevertheless, Jason illustrated several best practices that Living Social employs when it comes to social sharing:

  • Create different hypotheses of what to share and test, test, test!
  • Don’t over-complicate your social sharing…KISS
  • Google URL Builder is great for customizing URLs for your social sharing campaigns
  • Make sure that you don’t silo the input you get from social sharing and social media in general…make sure feedback gets back to your customer or client relations department
  • And no matter what, remember, a company sending something about their product or service to hundreds of people is SPAM…compelling and motivating your fans to pass on an endorsement or recommendation themselves is priceless.

Susan Greco Marchese is Director of Business Development with Production Solutions, a direct marketing company that has been providing over 30 years of proven expertise in direct mail production management with integrated marketing solutions.