Aside from the normal human journey of adapting to different environmental changes, as you grow older – the technology that leads our lives has changed so vastly over a very short time.
This “stuff” (aka technology) that guides our ability to be someone, anyone or no-one lays the base, the bricks, the core “human” qualities that drive us in a direction of achieving some of our basic human needs. And so the way we communicate has required our ability to adapt to change fairly quickly.
So this brings me to my point – as people social media is an integral part of who we are – I mean really… of the 7 billion people on the earth, 1,8 billion of them are active social network users that is 26% of the entire worlds population (We are social: 2014).
Can you imagine that kind of customer base for your business? It will cause you to have a slight aneurism right now, if you really think about that number and what it means.
Businesses around the world have jumped on the “social media train” – but are they really getting the results they want? Is having a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and a LinkedIn page enough… well the short answer to that is “aaaaaah No!”
This is potentially the biggest audience you will ever have access to, you have the ability to target what you sell to exactly where your customers look for information… On the interweb (as a family member of mine calls it)…
However there is a catch (like most great things in life), customers are fickle little minions, they are weary of sites on top of the grey stripe at the top of their Google search results, they have an eye on your promoted tweets and they are like trained military operatives when it comes to sniffing out you trying to sell them something.
With this in mind, it’s clear that somewhere along the road between the launch of Blogs in 1994 to turning professionals into a worldwide workforce with LinkedIn in 2008 and the final right at the rise of clash of clans – companies have lost the plot with their social media marketing.
So I decided it’s time to take it back to the basics, time to have a look at what we know and translate it into something that can deliver actual results.
Social media is not “the notification in the corner of your screen” you can ignore anymore it has or should become entrenched in your digital marketing strategy.
So where to from here, well here are a few simple steps that you can follow to get more from your social media:
Step 1: Understand the term
Social media – what does it actually mean? Well let’s look at the roots of the words:
“Social” comes from the latin word sociālis, equivalent to soci (us) partner, comrade” – and what do you do with your friends or partners? you socialise right and at the heart of socialising is interacting, communicating and engaging. Now, “Media” talks to a means of communication or many mediums, so hence social media is an online channel/platform for people to come together, share experiences, thoughts and engage with one another.
Step 2: Bring your brand to life
A few years ago, giving your product a personality seemed like something people only spoke about to understand the culture of your brand. Now this is a whole different ball game. In order to know if you are doing this right, ask yourself if your brand were a person, would people want to be friends with it? If you cannot answer that question or better yet, if the answer is no – it’s time to question what you have been doing on social media all this time. Your brand requires a personality, one that echoes your values and exudes your vision. It’s all about getting people to care enough to interact and advocate your brand through their networks. You need to create an emotional connection with them, like you know them… And the best thing that can happen is when they start acting like they know you… why? Because friends have their friends backs. That’s just a fact of life…
Step 3: Embrace the elements of social media that make it fun
Social media is not about being serious, it’s not hardcore political journalism, or a review about deadly spiders. Stop taking ish so seriously – be playful, be authentic, make jokes, be witty, share opinions and answer questions like you are a real person. No-one wants to talk to an inanimate object (aside from the fact that that warrants a psychiatric evaluation). Create brand ambassadors that can talk your brands language – if you get this right you are almost all the way there.
Step 4 – Commit to it like it’s a marriage
In a marriage both parties have an equal role to play in it’s success. Social media deserves all the things the rest of your marketing strategy have. Time, effort, measurement of results and investment. Be willing to do this, this is your brands platform to shine, the place you can take on the big brands that you were sure you could never compete with. It should be a channel in your marketing mix. We all know when something is part of the marketing mix it’s pretty dayam serious.
Step 5: Create Advertainment
Advertainment is not new, but yet we still getting this wrong. This has been demanded by our customers, they don’t want to be spoken at they want to be engaged, they want to be entertained. If you want people to share your stuff you better be entertaining and you had better be good at it.
Step 6: Encourage interaction and participation
Join the conversation as they say… this is easier said than done. This requires a level of openness and transparency you must be willing to start sharing your brands opinions with individuals, responding to their thoughts and be open to criticism… because when you open the social media door, the rules of engagement are simple… you are now in the customers space and we play by their rules.
Step 7: Take it in your stride
Just get on with it, write posts, share articles that you believe are relevant to your audience and post pics. If you are a company who sells cars, share blogs from people who talk about your car, tell people to watch reviews on Top Gear about your car, share stats and peoples thoughts, share pics of ecstatic new customers. It’s easy, you just have to stop thinking like a company and put yourself in the mind of the person that your company would be.
In essence, what I’m saying is social media is not as complicated as we all making it out to be, it’s real and human and awesome and if you take a step back and let that sink in, the fact that it is anything more than that would seem preposterous. It’s not rocket science it’s just Facebook…