From its inception it is what the Internet has always been — social. That’s why the Web has evolved to the become the life changing behemoth it is today.
Let’s define social:
so·cial [soh-shuhl] –adjective
1. pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club.
2. seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
3. of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society: a social event.
Note some of the words used to describe social — devoted to, companionship, social club, connected with. These terms tell anyone serious about social marketing how they must think so they can be considered part of social marketing.
Social media marketing takes time and focus. You need to be involved, participate, share and react — or it isn’t “social” media marketing. For me, the Web has had this social aspect from the start. I’ve realized and embraced this advantage by making connections, being involved, sharing information and expertise, being available and approachable — being social!
Social media is really just the buzz word du jour. Social media is simply a more focused segmented version of where we started in the early 1990s — and a natural evolution.
For those that are not yet social (and continue to convince themselves they can still succeed without being “social”), this is a critical time to realize that how you have chosen to use technology, up until now, has simply been an excuse to not embrace the very fiber of what makes the online world tick.
Clients struggle with the understanding that the participation factor is what makes or breaks any online program. They want social to just happen; buy a service or a bunch of Likes or Followers and you’re “social”. Then, the more Likes or Followers you have — that’s a sign of being social — job done. Wrong.
What good are all those Likes and Follows if they don’t turn into customers? What Likes and Followers are is your opportunity to connect further!
It is more comfortable and easier to accept the passive “brochureware” mentality where site visitors come by (that is if they even find your site) and fill out a form with their questions. Some answer these inquiries faster, in more detail and more professionally than others.
But that’s the limit of their involvement. They rely on organic search engine rankings (no longer a valid business model) while making little to no effort to positively affect those rankings.
Again, wanting it all with no involvement and by taking no quantifiable action.
Few are proactive, very few are truly immersed, and those who solicit their customer’s input or offer a venue to submit commentary, engage in conversations or ask questions publicly are negligible. Rather than being involved — most choose to impersonate a billboard in the middle of a long stretch of deserted highway.
So how do you have to think, today, at this point in time when approaching social media marketing? You have to become your best marketing tool — yes, you!
Are you willing to take your participation in technology to the next level?
- Being useful. Advertising is no longer just a message that a business owner wants to “get out there.” The “new” best advertising is something that is useful to your target customers, which ideally also communicates the value of the product or service you are promoting.
- Making a social media commitment. Advertising used to be about campaigns that started and ended. Yeah, there are still “campaigns” such as Pay Per Clicks, however social media is not a campaign in that sense, but a continuous commitment. Because it takes time for a community and trust to build.
- Reading and reacting in real time. For the first time in history, the two-way nature of “digital” means you not only can, but must, read and react to your customers’ feedback or input. Good or bad. Search for your business name or primary product or service. See where potential customers are asking questions and jump in and help out. Let your knowledge and assistance self-promote — don’t get sales pitchy.
- Finding out what works. Find out what works for your business. Determine what you have the most fun doing. Some prefer Twitter over Facebook while others dig Linkedin. What do your customers expect, desire, request? Use that knowledge to cater to that while adding your unique personality or spin. Find what works for you and what you enjoy most otherwise folks will probably pick up on your lack of enthusiasm.
These are just a few of the things that you can think about right now to start to drive your social marketing efforts online today. Want More? Check out my Social Media Category.
Reality Check Time…
If your competitors take advantage of technology, are social, are involved, are blogging, are podcasting, are creating videos, are using all the tools available to them to connect with their markets, the less chance you have of being viewed as relevant.
At your service,