Allan Isfan is a co-founder of FaveQuest, a young start-up. This blog covers start-up topics.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


5 easy tips for social media

To me social media means "people having conversations online".

It can range from writing and/or commenting on blogs, posting pictures to facebook, uploading youtube videos, micro-blogging on twitter, listening to or creating podcasts. The list goes on and on.

I've been toying around with social media for a while. I post on four blogs and even decided to start a company to create a new social video platform (favequest). I also produce & direct a fun on-line video show called the Nasty Hockey Show. This is a space I believe in.

Over the last few months, I have been asked to help with more complete social media campaigns and thought it might be worthwhile to share some tips I've come up with to kick off the discussion with you. Please correct me if you think I'm off base or am missing something major.

Here are my 5 tips:
1) ask why: ask yourself why you are considering social media

Social media is not for all situations. Are you looking to create buzz around a specific event or looking for a long term relationship with you customers? Are you trying to save money and want a bigger bang for the buck? Get some help and advice before you dive in. Many of us would do that for free.

2) be patient: success in social media is about providing value and building relations with people in various online communities .... not about interrupting and annoying people.

For example, I sometimes see people twittering with every other tweet being a pitch and link to their website or blog. Don't bother. It just makes you look bad.

3) be human: you or people close to you must be directly involved in the communities and be transparent

Most people don't like to interact with robots or faceless companies. It is critical to have an actual person get involved and connect with people. Hire a community manager, ideally one that is already involved in the communities that are relevant to you. Lot's of pretenders out there. (no, I'm not looking for a community manager position in case you're wondering but I know many good ones)

4) contribute: truly be part of the community without constantly pushing your agenda.

For example, if every other tweet on twitter is a link to your blog or website, people are not going to follow you. Help people, listen, provide advice and tips if you can.

5) not a silver bullet: social media initiatives don't replace traditional PR, advertising, interactive agencies, Search Engine Optimization and so on.

Social media can be part of the complete equation. Applied properly, it could make your customer engagement and even your major campaigns much more effective. And yes, you could even save some money as your champions carry your message on your behalf. Does Obama rings a bell?

I'm sure I'm missing some major points here so feel free to set me straight in the comments.

My next post will provide 5 key steps in any social media initiative and I will follow that up with some very specific details and examples. Be sure to register to my blog so that we don't miss an opportunity to connect and have a constructive discussion.


Allan Isfan
CEO, FaveQuest

twitter: @isfan

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


7:20 AM

Blogger allan isfan said...

thanks for checking out my blog. lots of good stuff coming down the pike like 5 steps to social media and more.

9:41 AM

Blogger Dave Rooney said...

Hey Allan,

re: "get involved", that's exactly what I did in 2000/2001 in the Agile community. It was something I wanted to learn, and the best way to learn in some cases is to teach! I asked and answered, and learned much more than I would have by just reading and participating passively.


Dave Rooney

10:00 AM

Anonymous Wendy Stone said...

Hi Allan:

Very new to social media myself but under 'contribute' I would underline listen, even maybe just lurk for a while, before you jump in.

Also, do not underestimate the investment needed for success. It takes time to become part of a community and time is a cost.


2:42 PM


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