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.
Primarily due to being a venue where folks can discuss, share, converse and connect with folks they never would have otherwise.
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 what social marketing actually is.
Social media marketing takes time and focus. You need to be involved, participate, share and react -- or it isn't "social" media marketing. Embracing this advantage by making connections, being involved, sharing information and expertise, being available and approachable -- that's called being social!
"Social" Makes the Online World Tick
For those that are not yet truly social, and continue to convince themselves they can still succeed without being social -- that is called lost opportunity. By not taking advantage of social media is to not embrace the very fiber of what makes the online world tick.
Many 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.
What good are all those Likes and Follows if they don't turn into contacts and/or customers? What Likes and Followers are good for is your opportunity to connect further!
It is more comfortable and easier to accept the passive "brochureware" mentality. This is where site visitors come by (that is if they even find your site) and fill out a form with their questions.
When that does happen I see many site owners not realizing the importance of a timely e-mail response! Some answer these inquiries when they get around to it missing the opportunity to make a great impression.
That's the limit to their involvement. Form submissions. They want to rely on organic search engine rankings (no longer a valid business model) while making little to no effort, including social, to positively affect those rankings.
Expecting it all with no involvement and by taking no quantifiable actions?
You don't do social media -- you are social media!
Few are proactive, very few are truly immersed, and those who do solicit their customer's input or offer a venue to submit commentary, engage in conversations or ask questions publicly are rocking it! Rather than being involved why do so many choose to impersonate a billboard in the middle of a long stretch of deserted highway? Mindset.
So what mindset should you have 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 useful to your target customers, solves a problem, answers important questions, fills needs. You find them and dish it out!
- Making a social media commitment. In time and budget. Off-line advertising generally covers campaigns that start and end. Online 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 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 customer's feedback or input. Good and bad. Setup alerts so you know when your company, product or service is mentioned. Search to find where potential customers are asking questions and jump in and help out. Let your knowledge and assistance self-promote -- just don't get all sales pitchy.
- Finding out what works. Not just for your business -- but for you! Determine what you have the most fun doing. Some prefer Twitter over Facebook while others dig LinkedIn. Otherwise folks will probably pick up on your lack of enthusiasm and involvement. Then, let your customers know where to find you. But keep in mind where your target market hangs out -- you need to be there too until they jump on board.
These are just a few of the things that you can think about right now to start to drive your social marketing mindset 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 target markets, the less chance you have of being viewed as relevant.
Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.
At your service,