So a lot people are confused on how to use social media effectively, but believe it or not, you already know the rules, and the players of social media. If you have ever attended a cocktail party then you know what it is like to work the room. You know what it is like to mingle and chat, and laugh and listen to amazing stories. So, implement and execute on the same skills that you might use to work the room of a cocktail party to build the right relationship with your fans and followers.
Which means you’re not always talking about business. You’re not always pitching everybody with buy my product, check out my video, look at my new…. and etc. Which means you know how to become successful at using SOCIAL media. All you’re really doing is translating your real life cocktail party to these social media platforms. They’re just a translation from the real world.
Now social media is word-of-mouth on steroids and one-to-one marketing to infinity, so the way to be successful with it is to embrace the practical rules of those two marketing methods. Since I’m a practitioner of social media, I can tell you that I will be practicing these are the five guidelines I will be using for my business:
1. Everybody Wants to Talk, I Want to Listen. For the last century those who were in business never had a listening platform. Never! Business was only conducted through talking. Now social media allows you to listen at scale to:
- your customers,
- to your prospects,
- to your staff,
- even to your competitors.
I use Twitter’s search at search.twitter.com function to search keywords that describes my business. For example: If you’re a lawyer, you can search “need a lawyer.” You can literally listen to the conversations people are having about needing your help.
Until social media came, CMOs and business owners spent 5% or 10% of their resources in communication and listening. Today, they spend 50% of their resources in communication and listening. Because now with social media you have a 24/7, 365-day focus group to listen to.
2. Tell Never Sell. A key asset for businesses has always been storytelling . There has always been only two ways to tell stories at scale. One way was to hire an expensive PR agency to tell your story to the media and the second way was to spend a lot of money on advertising. But social media now gives you a third alternative to tell stories at scale and tell them with a picture, a thirty or six second video shot with an Android phone or iPhone, or a status update, or a tweet.
If your story doesn’t resonate, you can just tell a different story an hour later, tomorrow or the next week. Unlike traditional media storytelling, there is little to no barrier to entry in social media storytelling and little to no penalty for telling a story that doesn’t resonate.
What story should you tell?
- Tell the story of how you were founded.
- Tell the story of a customer that has overcome an obstacle thanks to you.
- Tell the story of a staff member that has grown with you over time.
- Tell the story of a charitable partnership that you have or acts of service in the community that your team does.
3. Be Authentic and Transparent. Social media allows for few if any secrets anymore. Openness and transparency is key to earning trust. At the heart of every transaction is TRUST. And there’s a really big gap between someone being aware of you (which is really hard) and someone trusting you, enough to invest you or buy from you. The other part of this equation is being authentic to who you are.
“Know thyself – and to thine own self be true.” – William Shakespeare
Show your true energy and passion, your personality traits, and even your mistakes and vulnerabilities. The end game is that more people will be drawn to you.
4. No tweet, comment, feedback or response left behind (respond to everyone) We now live in the generosity and thank you economy. So, the two most important phrases in social media are “Thank You” and “I’m Sorry.” If someone tweets about how good your double mint ice cream cookies are, say “Thank You” in your own authentic voice. They’re your customer. The other aspect of being in business is that you will make a mistake or a mistake will happen, so when it happens own it, take responsibility. Be prepared for customers who complain about you via social media. See it as an opportunity, embrace it, say sorry and fix the problem. That act is seen by the world that’s watching on the internet and gives a perception that you’re the kind of organization that cares about customers.
*Online customer service quickly becomes marketing if you are responsive.
5. Be Tuned into WIIFM– What’s In It For Me? Yes, we are all selfish, especially your prospects and customers. People aren’t interested in your business; they’re interested in solving their own problems. If marketing is about communicating to customers that you’ve solved their problem, then the first step to growth is to solve their problem. In this connection economy, bilateral intimacy—engagement is what matters. The result is more two-way conversations, so if you do that well enough (solve their problem), the communicating part is easier to solve.
So think about the benefits of your product or service that will meet the desires of your customers.
- Are you providing solutions to their problems?
- Are you educating them?
- Are you providing freedom from pain?
- Are you entertaining them?
- Are you providing wealth, safety, success, security, love and acceptance?
- Are you making them smile or laugh?
Establish yourself as a authority in a specific space by giving away lots of valuable and remarkable expertise, insights and tips. When people have a need you’ll be at the top of their mind, and they’ll know you’re the expert and come to you.