The third revised edition of David Meerman Scott’s Business Week bestseller is out “The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly

It’s not social commerce per se, and for savvy social media vendors, the 366 pages will contain few surprises.  But in order to sell with social media, you need to understand the medium, and as a near-permanent top 10 Amazon bestseller on social media The New Rules provides a useful refresher.

Our top take-out (made implicitly rather than explictly) is that there are three basic social media strategies – “Entertain Me” (PR and marketing stunts using social media), “Help Me” (providing utility in social media) and “Love Me” (driving fan loyalty and advocacy in social media).

And if you want more, but 366 pages seems too long, here’s the speed summary.

First the New “Rules”

  1. You are what you publish – you need a content strategy to succeed with social media. Hire a journalist and organise yourself like a publisher
  2. People want authenticity, not spin – say no “astroturfing”, corporate-speak, marketing-hype – and never buy from anyone using the words ‘scalable’, ‘groundbreaking’, ‘cutting-edge’ or ‘industry-leading’ in social media
  3. People want participation, not propaganda – do not use social media to for the hard sales pitch. Instead, listen, respond, help and converse.
  4. Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it. Identify the content your different audiences needs, when they need it – and if appropriate use social media as a delivery channel to supply it
  5. Marketers must shift their thinking from mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of underserved audiences via the Web. Social media is “Long tail Communication” – lots of meaningful interaction with small niches rather than broadcasts-style campaigns
  6. PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It’s about your buyers seeing your company on the Web. Social Media PR is about disintermediation – direct to public PR.
  7. Marketing is not about your agency winning awards. It’s about your organization winning business. Social media marketing can only be successful if social media objectives are aligned with business objectives
  8. The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media. Disintermediation. Get over it.
  9. Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with [a publishing strategy] built around great online content.
  10. Blogs, online video, e-books, news releases, and other forms of online content let organisations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate. Don’t start with what you want to say, start with the problem people need solving.
  11. Social networks allow people all over the world to share content and connect with the people and companies they do business with. Social media is fundamentally a vehicle for connecting and interacting with your target audience, directly.
  12. On the Web, the lines between marketing and PR have blurred. Social media and more generally online communication makes the already somewhat artificial separation between marketing and PR yet more blurred – managing your reputation (PR) and promoting your business (marketing) both require delivering useful or entertaining content

Top Thoughts

  • To have a social media strategy, you need to know what you want to achieve. Don’t start without a clear SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, time-specific) objective
  • To have a social media strategy you need to understand the opportunities and limitations that social media can offer
    • Good for
      • real-time communication
      • crisis communication
      • two-way communication
      • influencer outreach
      • customer service/pre-sales
      • customer loyalty
      • search engine optimisation (getting on the only front page that matters ‘Google’ – for searches around you, your staff, your product, your category)
    • Bad for
      • one way communication
      • marketing hype and spin
      • push-marketing and push-PR
      • marketing campaigns
  • Social media is a publishing platform that allows people to share and contribute content
  • Beyond the hype and spin, social media is just ‘public email’ – it’s an ‘email to the world’ (Twitter as SMS to the world), Facebook as semi-private (email to your fans)
  • You are what you publish – social media is an interactive publishing platform – you need a willingness to publish content, and a content strategy built around what people want to read or watch
  • Bring a journalist into your team, and structure social media in your business as a publication (with editor, contributors)
  • There are three basic social media strategies [our interpretation]
    • “Entertain Me” (Stunt Strategy) 
    • “Help Me” (Thought Leadership Strategy)
    • “Love Me” (Fan Strategy)
  • The Entertain Me/Stunt Strategy: Using social media to run PR stunts to get third-party coverage in mainstream media.  Top examples include
  • The Help Me/Thought Leadership Strategy: Using social media to establish expertise, credibility and authority in your category with blogs, forums, surveys, presentations, infographics, reviews and how-to guides
    • Key is a problem focus – understand problems people have, and how you can solve them using social media, finding products, evaluating products, using products.
  • The Love Me/Fan Strategy: Using social media as fan media – to drive loyalty and advocacy among you ‘promoters’ – customers who love you and would recommend
  • Working with social media agencies/consultants: Before you part with any money get them to show you their social media presence, and ask them how it has been effective for them, and how they measured that effectiveness.
  • Social Media Communications is Long Tail Communication – (i.e. niche communication) instead of searching for one big ‘hit’ campaign, engage interest niches in ongoing and frequent communication
  • Beyond specific business and comunications objectives, an ongoing social media strategy should include
    • Social Media Guidelines for employees
    • Social Media Crisis Plan (for fast-responses crises as they appear)
    • Social Media Analytics – monitoring and measuring social media activity
    • Social Media Relations – ongoing outreach with key publishers in social media in your area
    • Social Media Analytics – measurement of social media activity
  • Social Media is real-time media – use the instant publishing possibilities of social media to piggyback on news stories as the develop
  • Why you need a blog: A blog is your social media publishing hub for publishing news, driving discussion about you and shape conversations, serving as a forum for customers and prospects to connect with each other and you, providing your with a real-time platform for crisis management, enhancing search engine visibility.
    • Auto publish from your blog to other social media hubs – Facebook, Twitter (Networked Blogs), LinkedIn (WordPress App) and RSS (really simple syndication)
  • The News Release: What is the single biggest annoyance cited by journalists when describing PR professionals? Press releases – described by journalists as “Mindless, vapid, useless, annoying, misdirected and clueless…”
    • If you must do them, don’t send them, publish them as news on your blog, and submit them to online news release syndication services (marketwire, prweb, business wire)
  • The New Rules of Media Relations
    • Non-targeted, broadcast pitches are spam.
    • News releases sent to reporters in subject areas they do not cover are spam.
    • Reporters who don’t know you yet are looking for organisations like yours and products like yours. Make sure they will find you on sites such as Google and Technorati.
    • If you blog, reporters who cover the space will find you.
    • Pitch bloggers, because being covered in important blogs will get you noticed by mainstream media.
    • When was the last news release you sent? Make sure your organization is “busy.”
    • Journalists want a great online media room!
    • Some (but not all) reporters love RSS feeds.
    • Personal relationships with reporters are important.
    • Don’t tell journalists what your product does. Tell them how you solve customer problems.
    • Does the reporter have a blog? Read it. Comment on it. Track back to it.
    • Before you pitch, read (or listen to or watch) the publication (or radio program or TV show) you’ll be pitching to!
    • Once you know what a reporter is interested in, send them an individualised pitch crafted especially for her needs.
  • Social Media Publishing Guidelines
    • Don’t wait for ‘big news’ publish status update news frequently
    • Don’t write for journalists, publish content for your target market
    • Do use keyword-language – language that real humans use and use to search (use Google Adwords)
    • Do adopt a LRP approach – 1) Listen to what people are talking about, 2) Respond with comments on their page or site, and 3) post a point of view, linking to them on your site
    • Do develop a ‘personality’ – a style, perspective and voice
    • Do use interactive content tools – charting, quotes, polls
    • Do use snappy titles – expand in subtitles if you need
    • Do use stories – especially human interest stories
    • Do publish upcoming Executive Appearances, Conferences and Tradeshow Participation
    • Do respond to queries quickly
    • Do use pictures, videos, graphics, presentations (hosted on social media sites)
    • Do use sharing features – allow audience to comment and share content (Facebook comments, Twitter, +1, FB and LinkedIn Share, and Email)
    • Do use subscription features (personalised RSS, email newsletter)
    • Do make sure your content is fresh and current
    • Do create content with pass-along value (aka ‘social objects’)
    • Do include a call to action – such as offers and trials that pull audience into the sales process
    • Do measure – using social media analytics – Google Analytics (and Klout)
  • The Mobile Dimension – Reaching Your Audience Wherever they are:
    • Make your publishing platform mobile friendly (responsive design for tablet, handset, laptop – as well as old-style desktops)
    • Use SMS – mobile offers sent if a shortcode is sent
    • Offer Check-in rewards (Facebook or Foursquare)
    • Develop or sponsor a mobile app that helps people (e.g. Sit or Squat)
    • Offer free wifi with a promotional message as the Wifi ID (e.g. free test drives)