In "The Social Media Road Map," we asked industry experts to share with us their most valuable guidelines for connecting with customers and users online. Then we opened up the floor to our readers. Here’s what you had to say:
"Be interesting. Be kind. Be consistent. #TheRules"
"Character limits exist for a reason. Two tweets per thought are fine, but no more. Especially regarding football. #TheRules"
"#TheRules of social media: It’s about influence, not control."
"Interesting is tougher than it sounds #TheRules"
"Set less rules. Ask more questions. #TheRules #paradoxtweet"
"Before you tweet/post/share, imagine saying it in person. Anyone who shouts "be my friend!" ends up with no friends #TheRules"
"Don’t set up auto DM on follow."
"Being social is like being in your underwear with no curtains on the windows. It's not always pretty but it's REAL. #TheRules"
"Don’t bombard your followers with hashtags. One is fine. Two, okay. More than that? My eyes glaze over. #TheRules"
"Keep tweets off Facebook! #TheRules"
"Don’t say anything online you wouldn’t want to have published on the front page of the Times! #TheRules"
"#TheRules of social media: #hashtags aren’t for #punchlines"
"All who claim to be experts are kidding themselves #TheRules "
"Don’t forget to tweet or people will forget you #TheRules"
"Make your info short and sweet for maximum interest and sharing potential. #TheRules "
"Post in more than one language to get the message out there. Hallo! Bonsoir! Buenas tardes! #TheRules"
Fast Company’s social media editor, Anjali Mullany, offered up a list of the conversations you should be having with your social media consultant. We revisit her seven pieces of advice and add your take.
1 "What's your goal?"
2 "Here's the ROI."
3 "I don't care about follower counts."
4 "Facebook and Twitter are only a start."
5 "Let's look at data."
6 "Your website should be social."
7 "I'm not a social media guru."
I particularly agree with No. 3. A lot of my clients constantly ask, "How do we build our Facebook fan-page likes?" But engagement and boosting likes require a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. What’s in it for the customer? That question will always linger, so content strategy has to be engaging.
I agree with every point except No. 3. I don’t advocate for focusing solely on the numbers, but follower count is important. If you’re only tweeting to 20 people, your message isn’t going to get out there, no matter how influential those 20 people are.
No. 4 is the most important. Too many people look at social as a "platform universe." It’s not; it’s an organism. It seems that many strategists think social is a Facebook strategy. Far from it. Geoffrey Colon Maplewood, New Jersey If I ever meet the person who coined social media guru, there’ll be some strong words exchanged!
In "Apple’s Not-So-Secret Weapon," we explored the company’s efforts to create a complete, connected digital experience for users through iCloud. But is it the clear leader or are competitors moving in?
Most people simply do not understand the power and scope of cloud computing, or just how far ahead of the game Apple is. There is absolutely no doubt that iCloud will be the "invisible forefront" of Apple’s future market strategy, where no one—not even Microsoft—can compete on a parallel plane. The Surface tablet will flop, mark my words. If Microsoft had marketing brains enough to push on ARM tech (and actually do a great job with it, instead of doing so only out of obligation), it would have done so with Windows Mobile 6 three years ago. Two operating systems later, Microsoft has almost nothing to show for it. Other than the fact that hardware is coming directly from the company for the first time in history, there’s no reason at all that Windows 8 will be any different.
Clearly, Apple plays a better media game, thanks to its competitors. Even though the Galaxy S III is the highest-rated phone, and even though Android phones far outsell iPhones, one would think that all the people creating Internet buzz are Apple employees. And I love all my Apple devices!
Longboat Key, Florida
ICloud is great, but it’s not the best I have seen. I prefer the way Dropbox syncs my pictures across all devices (irrespective of the manufacturer and OS) to Apple’s approach. The cloud is not just about files anymore; it’s also about the experience. Apple still has a ways to go on that front.
ICloud is still not that great. It’s certainly handy, but it’s not quite as functional as Dropbox. Apple is in a good position, but I’ve noticed a lack of quality control on some of its new products. Maybe it’s Steve Jobs’s absence, or maybe it’s just growing pains.
With Microsoft SkyDrive, I can take a picture with my device (usually my phone) and have it show up on my computer, TV, and tablet. The beauty is in the fact that SkyDrive works with Macs, while iCloud is proprietary. The hype around iCloud seems unjust. And, in my opinion, all cloud-based services need to up their security game. I don’t like the idea of someone being able to wipe all of my data if my account gets hacked.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.