Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to answer questions and train several companies on using social media to establish and promote their brand. One of the hardest lessons to swallow is the importance of personal interaction within your community. There is no quick plugin to replace the authenticity that you must build when joining the social media marketing trend. I’ve begun to sound like a broken record, but we can not replace the social in social media.
So where, if at all, does ghost blogging or ghost twittering fit in?
Let’s break this down a bit. There are several types of social media profiles that can be built. You have
1. The Corporate Profile
This is mainly a large company or corporation that may actually have several social profiles for different reasons. You wouldn’t see one person representing every aspect of the company, but rather, you may see several: the IT department tweeting about their newest advances to assure their followers they are staying on the cutting edge of their field; the HR department tweeting about career opportunities & benefits to recruit top employees; or the PR department spreading news of the latest events, press coverage or collaborations to build brand reputation.
A large corporation may hire out a full time blogger or Community Manager to handle their social media marketing strategy. This is completely different than a ghost writer or tweeter. A Community Manager or Blogger is responsible for engaging with the brand’s online community and spending time listening, evaluating and communicating with them. They would also be fully disclosed as such. Jeremiah Owyang has an excellent post defining The Four Tenets of the Community Manager which will give you a better understanding of the role.
2. Celebrities & Performing Artists
Do you really want to engage with the celebrity or with someone that is writing in their behalf? We all know with the massive amount of fans some celebrities have that it would be next to impossible to engage with all of them. One strategy to use would be to have a Community Manager to listen and promote the celebrity, but regularly schedule a time for the celebrity to come online once per week (or as often as possible) to personally engage. Do this every week for a few months, along with proper PR to let your fans know about it, and you will grow a raving fan base.
3. Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner & new to social media, you might try beginning with your most passionate employees to get the ball rolling then bring in the experts to train and tweak your social media strategy and style. The passion expressed by your employees will not be duplicatable by an outsider hired to send out generic tweets or write a disengaged blog post…especially if there is no disclosure as to who the author is. If you’re a sole proprietor with no employees and you lack the writing or communication skills yourself you might consider having your hiring a professional to get you started.
Never invest your money in a company or “Consultant” that will handle all your blog posts and/or tweets without including personal training in social media marketing and show how to take over the reins should you ever need to!
4. Business Opportunities
I debated on whether to include this with small business but just couldn’t do it. Twitter and Facebook are drowning in marketing ploys made by MLM’s, business opportunities, and get rich quick scams. While a biz opp could be considered a small business, you won’t find the same respect in their communities as you would from a small business owner. Biz opps have new people (“business owners/members”) join them everyday. Most of them have no clue about the reputation of the business, who their audience is, or how to use social media to market to them. So, in comes “Joe Millionaire Maker” promising to handle everything for them, claiming thousands of sales being made from Twitter, and professing to understand the diametrics of social media strategies. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. I have seen one company blast the same exact tweet for hundreds of different biz opps in one day. Ask yourself, is this engaging? Yes, they “live life by design”. The design is to keep you ignorant as long as possible so they can take your money.
If you are serious about the opportunity and you truly believe in it, then treat it as your own small business. Learn from the true professionals that are knitted to the social media realm, attending events, communicating with the top level social media strategists, and sharing their knowledge. More than any other category, Business Opportunities need their online reputation to be authentic, caring and knowledgeable.
Don’t be a poser. And don’t allow someone to sell you the idea that a self development blog written by ghost content writers will attract tons of traffic. Don’t be fooled into thinking free directory or forum posts will give you the massive traffic they promise. The only ones you will attract are the ones that are doing the same thing you are…selling a get rich quick idea.
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To Your Success,