Most companies go wrong because: Communities do not come together around the idea of being monetized.

If you are going to start using social media, the best advice I can give from mistakes I have learned from is to align your goal with how your target audience is using social media. People, for the most part, do not come together and form a community around a particular product. Instead, they come together because of a ‘bigger’ idea or a common association, interest or feeling that is related to that product.

For example, one of my clients is a cardiologist physician. Instead of building a “traditional” community forum to market his services or expertise for that matter, the direction I am implementing is to create a community forum about “How I lost my weight by eating healthy and exercising.” This encourages people to share their stories, recipes and exercise programs that worked for them. Now the doctor can “indirectly” contribute to the forum by posting or allowing members to ask him about questions pertaining to their diet and exercise programs. This strategy accomplishes the same objectives about his services, practice and expertise, but in a way that people want to use social media.

So if your company is wanting to use social media, or if it is wanting to participate in or create an online community, you have to align your goals with those of the people you want to reach. People aren’t going to interact with you via social media so you can beam marketing messages at them. And they aren’t going to come together and form communities so they can promote your product and grow your business.

Think about how your customers are using social media, and more importantly, think about why they are using social media. At the end of the day your goal is to reach people. Respect them and their time, and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]