There are only 16,000 books on social marketing -- 2,000 more than there were early this year. Ignoring the obvious question (what in God's name are all of these people writing about, and instead of engaging in literary badge engineering couldn't just one of them have maybe written a treatise on Bernoulli's principle as regards airflow over laminated surfaces? I might have actually read that).
Helen Min, product marketing manager at Facebook, said that if she were to author number 16,001, her book would be about influence.
Min spoke about Facebook the way your cable guy explains why you're not getting reception. She said the problem is static due to noise (e.g., the 16,000 books). "That's the biggest challenge," she said, speaking at the Engage 2012 conference sponsored by SocialBakers. "My team is charged with figuring out how social marketing works for each industry. We dive into industries and figure out their unique attributes."
She boiled it down to a simple list of do's and don'ts. First, focus on fans, because they are the ones who help you out, and they spend 30% more on brands to which they are loyal than do non-fans. But she also said relying on other's data is like driving a car by looking through the rear-view mirror. "It tells you what other brands experienced with their customers; it doesn't talk to yours."
There are, said Min, four dimensions of social marketing: connect, engage, influence and integrate. "Connecting is converting customers into fans because they are loyalists: they are already your customers. They will go out and do business for you."
Engagement is proving value to people who connect with you, and the best way to do that, per Min, is to put experienced marketers behind your fan page, not young code jockeys. "This is really important."
Influence should belong to people who engage with your brand. "Your friends are influencing your brand more than any marketer would." Integration, broadly speaking, brings people onto a social platform. If it's something like Spotify it allows interactions about music between groups. "I can see what my friends are listening to -- that's the differentiator [versus iTunes]."
Her prescription: invest in ways to target and connect with loyal customers; invest in frequent, high-quality publishing with extensive reach; connect with marketing developers, whether at Facebook or elsewhere.