March 11, 2013

4 rules for successful guerrilla social media marketing

There are easier, and more effective, ways to do guerrilla marketing (Photo by Sam Beebee).

Build some social media marketing backbone

Chris AbrahamWhen it comes to selling and marketing, you need to think of online brand promotion more in terms of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) where you and your social media marketing campaign are a floor broker and you need to get your clients orders in. I hate to be cloying but social media marketing success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration, so get out there and make some noise!

I am not suggesting being rude, but I am suggesting that if you’re not getting a little bit of blowback, you’re not doing it right. I have been speaking to a bunch of social media people recently and they’re super-careful, afraid of offending something they call a “sensibility.” This is the same nervous sycophancy that people have been professing and preaching from the birth of the Internet and from the birth of history.

The Internet is a disrupting medium — social media doubly so. Being afraid of your own shadow is the opposite of disruption. I just won a designation as a top-100 guerrilla social media marketer in the world and that wasn’t because I was nice, careful, or shy — it’s because I make my way to the head of the line, to the front of the crowd, and even cut in line as often as possible by leveraging my relationships through favors and friendships.

Rule #1: Ask for stuff

I learned this in my 20s: people like being asked for favors and for help. Asking for help doesn’t make you look weak, it makes you look resourceful. And, generally speaking, people love helping, especially when helping you is easy for them (most things that are hard for me are impossibly simple for folks I know).

Rule #2: Engage

Are people discussing your company, your product, your services, or you? Feel free to interrupt conversations that are already in progress. There will never be a good time to participate because there will always be a couple of folks involved that may not like your interruption and consider you rude.

It doesn’t matter that 1% to 10% of everyone online grouses at just about anything and everything. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. And it’s not nearly that scary or dangerous, my friends. A lot of it is more about stress-testing you to see what kind of person you are; a little bit of hazing to see if you can take a punch or if you’re just going to log off at once!

Are you tough? Do you spook easily?

So much of the time they’re just testing your mettle and you’re bolting in tears, afraid of blow-back, pulling all your resources out of social media because “it’s not worth the risk,” or so say your managers and counsel. Oh, for heaven’s sake.

Rule #3: Reach out

Outreach is the lifeblood of social media engagement. The only pretty boys and girls who really mean anything nationally and internationally are the beautiful ones who have already been discovered.

There are millions of beautiful, downright gorgeous humans on planet earth, and yet charm, beauty, talent, and prowess rarely mean anything without fame. With fame, being pretty is maybe enough; however, it isn’t, as even the most famous, beautiful, talented, and charming celebrities globally still spend loads of money on publicists. It’s true.

Find out who the top influencers are in your industry. Find out where they live online and what they’re saying and reach out to say hello

All of that is just an analogy for your brand. You may think you’re talented, charming, innovative, creative, successful, ambitious, and beautiful enough to compel customers to find and hire you, but you’re probably not because even all of those companies, brands, talents, and creatives you so admire and look up to are spending multiple-thousands of dollars on speaking and book tours, on advertising and marketing, on press releases and phone calls to TMZ, on false-flag controversies done to excite attention, and all sort of very seedy, aggressive, and shameless shenanigans in order to make it to the top of the news.

So, if you don’t have the stones to get out there to identify your target market or markets, find out who the top influencers are. Find out where they live online and what they’re saying. Then discover how to contact them (be it via email, Facebook, LinkedIn, or wherever), and reach out and say hello. It’s not so much Peer-to-Peer (p2p) but rather PR-to-Peer (PR2P).

Rule #4: Share

I was going to say that the fourth rule is to share, but you’re all doing that. However, you may be doing it wrong. All you do is make it shareable. All you do is make it as easy as possible by sharing your content not only on your own site and blog but also across your social platforms and anywhere else you can reach. However, after all that work, so what?

If you only have 200 followers on each of your platforms, the likelihood of anyone actually stumbling upon your little squeak amongst the roars is downright negligible — and it doesn’t matter how well you orchestrate, how memetic your kitten graphic is or how revolutionary your infographic, it won’t matter.

“Why not?” you ask, indignant and insulted. Well, I explain it in great detail in my recent post, “If you perform only to an empty house your show will close.”

At the end of the day, you have to decide what you’re going to do.

It’s all totally embarrassing if you’re shy (and I can almost guarantee that most Online Community Managers are introverted by nature) and afraid of rejection or confrontation. Just because you’re afraid of engaging influencers online, interrupting conversations or really pushing your message deep and hard, you can’t just redouble or retriple your efforts by blogging, tweeting, sharing, and Facebooking more.

You’re still going to need to get off your duff or you’ll be playing your Stradivarius for passersby at best and at worst, alone in your room — always hoping to be discovered but forever frustrated.

Even worse than being frustrated, at some point your boss is going to either fire you, axe the social media budget, or abandon it completely. Not because buzz marketing, social media marketing, digital PR, or guerrilla marketing doesn’t work but because you didn’t do a good enough job working it.

Social media marketing: it works if you work it.

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Chris Abraham is a partner in Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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2 thoughts on “4 rules for successful guerrilla social media marketing

  1. I like your strategy, get to the point and tell it like it is. The truth hurts most and being confronted, be it mentally or physically scares the crap out of most people. Market like you mean it and take no survivors.

    Excellent marketing info!

  2. Nice post Chris and really like your rules to be successful in Social media. It definitely going to work if you really works.