Art of War for Social Media #SunTzu

Though B2B social media communities tend to be friendly, it doesn’t mean the millennia old lessons from “The Art of War” don’t apply.  Here are the top 10 strategies Sun-Tzu might offer at your next staff meeting:

10. “We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country-its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps…We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless we make use of local guides.” Though a B2B company may be new to the social media landscape, their customers, investors and employees aren’t.  The tolerance for newbie mistakes is low.  Get a guide to show you the terrain. Better yet, get a couple.

9. “A wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy’s provisions is equivalent to twenty of one’s own.” If your competitor has spent a year attracting 3,000 highly targeted followers on Twitter, how long would it take you to find them?  Two minutes?  Five?  How about the blogs that they consider most important — the ones they’ve done guest posts with and left comments on?  While it probably took them months to identify the movers and shakers in the sector, it’ll take you all of  one Google blog search to find them.  You don’t want to be the follower, but if you are, there’s no reason to spend as much time and money as the leader getting into a strong position.

8. “If our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.” This applies directly to your thought leadership-SEO strategies.  Depending on how much quality content you can pump out, and how many executives you have to position online versus competitors, these are great guidelines to follow.

7. “There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune on his army…[number 2] By attempting to govern an army in the same way he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restlessness in the solder’s minds.” Once a company has built up a community, it can be easy to start viewing it as an extension of the enterprise; almost as employees.  That’s a mistake.  Don’t them for granted and always remember that their loyalty is earned, not bought.

6. If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.  If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.  If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Before stepping onto the social media battlefield, you have to survey your competitors.  Where are they?  What are they doing?  What’s your own online profile?  Do audits on yourself and them.  It’s the only way to proceed with confidence.

5. “There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.” Don’t feel overwhelmed by the hundreds of social media sites and tools.  Between your blog, Twitter feed, Flickr and YouTube channels you’re set to play a beautiful social media symphony.

4. “Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.” If you woke up tomorrow to Google Alerts for your competitor’s new blog, new Twitter feed, new YouTube channel and a handful of guest blogs, how long would it take your company to catch up?  And once you did, how much farther down the road would they be?  Don’t be the second mover.

3. Do not repeat the tactics that which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.” Companies are designed to find an innovative technique and then doing it 1,000 times to enjoy economies of scale.  The desire to routinize is strong.  In social media, at least so far, innovation and variation are the only constants.

2. “There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovreign which must not be obeyed.” There are a lot of ways to interpret this rule.  Whatever situation popped into your mind after reading it is the right one for you.

1. “The natural formation of the country is the soldier’s best ally; but a power of estimating the adversary, of controlling the forces of vicory, and of shrewdly calculating difficulties, dangers and distances, constitutes the test of a great general.” Social media is a world unto its own.  You must follow its own gravitational force, play by its rules.  If you do, the rewards are great.  Lots of research, lots of listening and lots of experimenting will take care of the unknowns.
Read more: Art of War for Social Media: 10 Strategies for B2B Companies | The B2B Formula http://b2bformula.com/2010/05/11/sun-tzu-on-social-media-10-strategies-from-the-art-of-war-you-should-use-right-now/#ixzz2MuzdAhiX

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