Users have the real power to make or break a brand’s campaign, simply by ignoring it.

One of the first questions you need to ask is: “Who do you want to reach through your campaign and what’s in it for them?”

A marketing manager recently asked this question: “What will be a good social media marketing strategy for a Social media website?”

One of the mistakes that many marketing managers make is creating profile pages or social media applications that do not engage with the community and offer no incentive for users to participate.

First and foremost, social media sites are about community, and while advertisers are jumping around waving their arms waiting to be noticed, it never occurs to them that the first way to get into a group is to get to know people, then ask permission.

Advertisers need to remember that the true power of social media lies in the user-to-user activity.

People will pass on links and applications to people within their group that share their interest.

So, understanding who actually gives a damn about what you have to say or sell is key to any campaign. Ignore personalisation at your peril.

Finally, advertiser must be prepared not only to push out a campaign and hope that the users will drive its success; advertisers must be willing and ready to participate.

Engagement with the community will send the message that not only has the advertiser taken the trouble to get to know the user’s interests, it wants to stick around, thereby establishing trust.

An undervalued element in social media is trust.

Many brands try to coax users away from their community and push them toward external brand sites, and measure the success of a campaign on whether or not users leave the community and push up the traffic numbers on corporate sites.

A bolder tactic is to stay within the community and engage where users feel more comfortable, thus establishing trust.

As highlighted by Forrester Research recently, this is a tactic employed by Intel with great success.

Marketing manager David Veneski made the gutsy move of not linking back to the Intel corporate site through his social marketing efforts, in an attempt to actively join a community and get them to engage with the brand on their own turf.  

So, what is a good social media marketing strategy?

It’s remembering that people are only consumers when they’re consuming, that true communication is a two way street and that social media as the name implies is first and foremost about individuals using technology to communicate with other groups of individuals who share a common interest.

If we want in on the party, we need an invitation first and we’re only going to get one if we stop treating people like figures in a segment.

Demographics in this arena are meaningless and only when we get that will people open the door.