A few big brands have already blazed trails in the digital marketing world. We spoke to social media and marketing experts at MTV, American Express, Xbox, NBA and AT&T to get the scoop on how they learned to hit the mark.

1. Be Human

“Nailing a tone that resonates with your audience is of paramount importance,” says Tom Fishman, manager of social media and community at MTV. The goal at MTV, he says, is “to sound human and conversational and not be the voice of some corporate overlord.” To that end, tweets are often written in the first person (“we” and “I”) to convey that there are “hearts and faces” behind the screen. Resonating with a particular audience is especially important because MTV has 70 Facebook Pages, covering everything from Daria to Jersey Shore — MTV’s social media crew has to speak in a way that feels comfortable with each audience.

At Xbox, there are 15 people on the Xbox Tweet Fleet, all of whom tweet with their own personalities and “create a collective voice” by being passionate. Each tweeter signs off with his initials so the consumer knows who tweeted at them (American Express also does this). Adds Jerry Kansky, manager of the Tweet Fleet, “We are the consumers, and we know how we’d like to be talked to, so we’re just being ourselves.”

Chris Baccus, executive director of digital and social media for AT&T, notes that it’s important to “be a part of the conversation and not try to own or control the conversation.” While brands can — and should –- use social media to promote their messages, it’s important to be real and not sound like a press release. After all, people are opting to follow you — don’t give them a reason to unfollow!

Something else that’s human? Making mistakes. If there’s a spelling error in a celebrity’s name or the wrong time is tweeted for a Real World episode, “the move is not to delete the tweet and let it go away,” Fishman says. It’s an opportunity to show what kind of company you are, and that human touch (a follow-up tweet with a “sorry” or “oops”) is something the fans appreciate more than sweeping mistakes under the rug.

Get the full story at Mashable