Image by: Jonno Witts
By Michael Sterling
It’s hard to believe, but social media is still a very new idea. It changes every day, and many business owners fail to see that its structure has less to do with marketing and more to do with engagement. Since its conception, CEOs have tried to collaborate the two worlds and failed miserably in certain areas. Here are a few we all need to work on in the coming months:
#1) Selling Over Connecting
No matter how many times we tell ourselves, social media isn’t a marketing tool necessarily. It’s a way to connect with our customers. To share experiences, tell stories, and to get in touch with our friends and family about what they’re up to. The last thing anyone wants to see are ads or sales pitches. This is why if you’re going to market in social media, it needs to involve – not sell.
The focus should be on building relationships with your customers, using Facebook or Twitter as a platform to do so. Many businessmen often make the mistake of selling directly from their page. This will turn off your consumers.
Instead, give them something they’re willing to spare five seconds from visiting their friends for. Target their interests, rather than their money. Leave the pitching to the boardroom, not the newsfeed.
#2) Aiming For Shares, Not Results
Just because your company’s latest update had over 1,000 shares or 10,000 likes doesn’t mean you’re a millionaire. It’s not like you’re getting a dollar for every “like” you receive. Social media has the power to give you immense exposure, but never confuse viral potential with real results. Take a look at the numbers. How many sales did you receive from that one successful post?
All social media networks have a community within itself, and has its own audience. Some people prefer Facebook over Twitter, and vice versa, so there are plenty of opportunities to reach for different results. By far the most successful are those which either entertain, solve a problem, or shed light on important issues related to the mission of your company.
Nike’s Greatness Campaign did just that. During the London Olympic Games, Wieden+Kennedy, Shanghai set out to shed light on the athletes who don’t usually get attention in china. The tweets from Weib’s @JustDoIt received 125,000 retweets, becoming the third most retweeted message of 2012.
#3) Advertising Over Campaigning
The main principle of social media is the ability to share. Sure you might have created an awesome promo video describing your company, its mission, and all with high-tech HD equipment, but if it doesn’t relate to them, what’s the point of them sharing it? Instead, think of your content as if you were building a campaign. This is how you’ll ignite discussion.
No one wants to waste their time watching a video sale when they can be watching something that makes them feel good. Create content that resonates and fills a consumer up to such emotional height that they have no choice but to share.
A prime example of this is Dove’s “Inner Beauty” Campaign. By displaying the fact that real beauty comes from within, Dove managed to change the way advertising handled the idea of beauty. Since its launch, the campaign has spawned many other videos and ads, changing the public’s perception of Dove forever.
#4) Demanding Your Consumers
Often times, business owners try to tell their customers what to do on their updates or posts. Saying things like, “Like or share if you agree!” or “Don’t forget to [blank]!” or “Tell us what you think!” might get a little old. Not to mention, doing it over and over again will appear condescending after a while.
The bottom line is this. If the quality of your content isn’t engaging to start with, you shouldn’t expect much from your customers. You can tell them to like and share all you want, but chances are, anything with a demanding undertone will only deflect the activity.
Instead, act as the moderator to drive discussion and engagement in your updates. Copy and pasting a resonating quote or deal from within the article itself has a better track record at sparking engagement than breaking the fourth wall and telling customers what to do. When they come to you organically, they are likely to build loyalty themselves.