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September 29, 2009
The 4 Cs of Social Media Marketing

Have you ever been shopping for diamonds? Okay, have you ever been shopping for “a” diamond? I have. So has my husband. Not that this is our pastime or anything, but back in our pre-married days, when buying the perfect engagement ring seemed like the most important thing in the world, Jason and I spent an inordinate amount of time educating ourselves on the “4 Cs” of diamond shopping. And while it all sounds rather obnoxious to talk about now, it serves as an ideal metaphor for another very important investment: how you use social media marketing.

Let’s look at the parallels then, shall we?

1) Cut

In Diamonds – A diamond’s ability to sparkle brightly much depends on how the facets are cut. The more precisely this is done, the more brilliantly the diamond will catch the light and sparkle.

In Social Media – To be effective in social media you must cut through the noise like a laser and say something that matters to people. You don’t have to be brilliant, but do convey insight, intelligence or, at minimum, the ability to cognate a complete thought. I’m always surprised by some of the natter I see on twitter. If what you’re about to post might cause someone to say “Who cares?” don’t post it.

2) Clarity

In Diamonds – Diamonds are unearthed from the ground where they take countless years to form (from coal). Therefore, many of the diamonds you see in a store actually have what jewelers call “flaws.” That is, there are tiny little occlusions or bits of coal inside the stone. Sometimes these are visible to the naked eye, and sometimes you need a microscope to see them. Too obvious an occlusion is considered undesirable.

In Social Media – What you say must make sense to people in the context they’re already operating in. Avoid vague statements or quotations, and definitely avoid overuse of pronouns unless it’s with the intent to create curiosity (i.e. using ‘this’ without a clear reference to what ‘this’ refers to, to click on a link, etc.). If I scan through your twitter profile I should see an interesting, somewhat descriptive play by play—a tapestry of sorts. More to the point, I should glean value from what you’ve said, even if you said it a month ago.

3) Color

In Diamonds – Diamonds are not always crystal clear or “white,” and many have a distinct hue. If the hue is rare, the diamond will fetch a higher price. (I believe pink and yellow diamonds fall into this category.) If the hue is almost white but a little off, this ultimately devalues the diamond.

In Social Media – The absence of color may be precious in diamonds, but it’s worthless in social media. If you’re not ready to get a little raw with your audience, social media isn’t for you. The Internet is full of conformists who, at the end of the day, add little value to the digital conversation. Remember, you don’t have to get naked. Just show a little skin now and then to keep ‘em interested.

4) Carats

In Diamonds - This is just the unit by which to measure the size of the stone. The more carats, the bigger the diamond. Simple.

In Social Media – Much like I wanted the biggest diamond my then-fiancé could afford, you should be willing to play the numbers game with your social media marketing. The self-titled gurus of social media love to say it’s all about sharing and warm fuzzies, but let’s not kid ourselves. If there’s no ROI on the horizon, you’re just having a beer at the bar and nothing else.

Do be targeted in your approach. Give your tribe what it wants. But do it often and consistently, and your sales funnel will benefit greatly.

Memorize the 4 Cs of Social Media Marketing and not only will you sparkle like the true gem that you are, you’ll draw a crowd every time.

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Karri Flatla is the principal of snap! virtual associates inc., an online consulting firm specializing in Web marketing and copywriting for entrepreneurs. Well known across the web for her take-no-prisoners writing style, Karri’s articles and tips have been featured at Search Engine Guide, the VAnetworking Blog, Fuel Net, TwiTip and Smart Company Magazine. You can read and subscribe to her blog.

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