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It’s that time of the year: I’m considering watching The Sopranos again from the start. I need a week off, some quality Italian food and no distractions from the goddamned Feds.

The Tony Soprano guide to social mediaThis urge was the result of a bunch of Tony Soprano quotes that I stumbled upon and – since it’s a Friday - I wondered if any of them could be applied to social media. Turns out that they can… 

"Let me figure out how to take care of you."

Social media is not about sales: it’s about service. The sales that arise from social optimisation are a tangible bonus. Loyalty and satisfaction FTW.

“Marriage, or any relationship for that matter, is a give and a take.”

Social media offers you the ability to forge stronger relationships with your customers and brand advocates, as well as prospective customers. Why wouldn't you want to do that? It's a two-way thing, a discussion as opposed to a soliloquy, so be prepared to listen to feedback and engage with people on a one-to-one level.

“Learn anything?”

The noise on social media sites can tell you a lot about your products, services and brand. The crowd will help you figure out what works and what doesn't. At a simplistic level, if this article is retweeted 500 times then I may write another one called ‘The Paully Walnuts Guide To SEO’.

“It's my mess. All my choices were wrong.”

Don’t be so hard on yourself, we all mess up from time to time. There will be mistakes, but you learn from them. People are way more forgiving if you hold up your hands when things go wrong, rather than trying to cover things up. Saying sorry in public and making the appropriate fixes and changes will help you gain the respect of your fans / followers / readers / audience / customers.

“A wrong decision is better than indecision.”

Don’t miss your opportunity to do something amazing for your business, and pay no mind to teething trouble. It happens. The worst decision of all is the refusal to make any kind of decision about doing this social media thing...

“You're supposed to be earners, that's why you've got the top positions.”

The amount of CMOs / marketing directors who remain perplexed and frightened by the internet is staggering. Generational change may be required in some companies before real progress is achieved. Social media is a massive opportunity to join up your marketing, PR, service and sales.  

“It's good to be in something from the ground floor.”

Implementing a social media strategy for the first time in an established organisation can be a challenge, but if you get it right then you may find yourself basking in kudos, glory and acclaim, in the years to come. You might need a start-up mentality to make things work: social media is all about planning and relationship-building, and it requires a not insignificant allocation of effort and resources. 

“Do we need to talk in private?”

Not all conversations need to be held in public. Customer services is broken and as such many customers often find it easier to bitch in public (e.g. on Twitter), but this is an opportunity to reach out, do the right things openly, and then move the problem into a private environment to sort things out.

“You realize what could've happened to you... if we didn't have connections?”

The superbrands of the future will be user-centric with many thousands of customer evangelists to help spread word of mouth. It’s going to be harder – and costlier - for brands to succeed without an army of cheerleaders behind them.

“In business, sometimes shit happens, the playing field changes, whatever. You gotta do whatever you gotta do ta keep your dick up.”

If you have an agile mindset and can adapt to new opportunities and challenges then you’re going to better placed than the fearful stick-in-the-mud old school executive. Swimming against the tide is a hobby for idiots.

“You know, you oughta chill out about some o' this.”

Really, it’s not that much of a big deal. Your customers use sites like Twitter, Digg, Facebook and YouTube, so why don't you? I guarantee that people will be talking about your brand, whether you choose to listen or not. If you’re not listening you can’t respond. Lighten up!

“You wanna yell at somebody, the man you should be talkin' to is right over there.”

The fact of the matter is that all businesses have problem areas, and sometimes customer feedback is noisy and negative. Social media can help you show customers that you’re prepared to listen, in whichever channel they choose to react in. The speed and nature of your response can do wonders in placating angry customers. Social media sites provide you with an opportunity to fix issues, surpass customer expectations and build loyalty.

“There's no retiring from this.”

What are you, some kind of Miley Cyrus? Once you’re in, you’re in. Occasionally something might happen to make you want to close down your profiles (as Habitat briefly did after an epic social media fail), but it’s best to resist the temptation. Commit to putting your customers at the centre of your business and stay on that path.

“You equate love with money!”

As well you should! Social media can help you feel the love, and if enough people out there make enough good noise then you might reasonably expect to generate some sales. These sites are vast echo chambers, which are clearly great for referrals and recommendations. Moreover, social optimisation allows customers to stay tuned in to your brand, which boosts engagement. And that, in turn, boosts customer satisfaction, sales and profits.

"Now, I know you think I'm like a hard, cold, captain-o-industry type... That's not all there is."

Put a human voice on your brand. Let your people be themselves, rather than forcing them to adopt ghastly corporatespeak as their social media language. Your people are your greatest asset, in terms of social media. Let their personalities shine through. Your brand will benefit in the long run.

“Think. The big fucking picture.”

Success isn’t going to happen overnight. You need to sow the seeds, by defining your goals, determining a social media strategy, figuring out who is going to coordinate things, claiming and building out your social media profiles, and adding the right kind of functionality to your website. And be sure to measure social media success from a distance (although you can also look at the detail to benchmark progress or audit your current social media set-up).

“What use is an unloaded gun?”

If you’re going to do it, do it. Some brands and people have claimed their social media profiles but simply use them as placeholders. That’s ok, but it’s not going to get you anywhere with the crowd.

“What, you tryin' to prove your independence?”

You don’t want in? That’s ok. There’s no point doing social media unless you’re prepared to be social!

Chris Lake

Published 6 November, 2009 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

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Jo Crawshaw, Consultant at africapractice

Great post Chris. Could do a whole series of these gangster/mafia guides to social media! Next-up: 'The Tony Montana guide to Twitter' - I'd certainly be reading! Jo

almost 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

"Say hello to my little friend!"

This post is strictly filed under 'Friday' ;  )

almost 7 years ago

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Vincent Roman

You're a funny guy!

almost 7 years ago

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Paul Segreto

Great post - funny and informative! I love the Italian mob twist (hmmm, I wonder why?)

over 6 years ago

Mike Stenger

Mike Stenger, MikeStenger.com

Can't believe I missed the post. Just fantastic. Added it to my bookmarks under Social Media. That's where I hide all the awesomeness that I can put to work ;-)

Great stuff again Chris!

over 6 years ago

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Tina Cannon

One of my favorite shows.. Best lines:

"Don't disrepect the pizza parlor"

over 6 years ago

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