Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Do you know why you're doing what you're doing in social media?

"If everybody is special, then nobody is":
Three articles have inspired me to write this post. My dear friends, Reyes Ramon and her post "Got engagement?" published in desmárcateya’s blog, one by Maine Beristain titled "Brand tales to remember" (both these posts in Spanish, no translation available, sorry), and an article published by Pam Moore on Social Media Today, a really phenomenal one, entitled "Why: The most important question in social business", which really nailed it.

As I always do, all links will be included at the end of this post, so you can go deeper into the content I want to share with you today.

A while ago, I wrote an article on this blog entitled "Who follows who in social media?" in which I made a reference to the unbelievable competition that exists today in social media to capture our respective audiences’ attention and how social conversations were focusing on products and companies, instead of focusing on people.

Hundreds of thousands of companies have embarked on the development of promotional and content strategies to attract the attention of their followers and engage their fans with the brand, to try and establish with them a dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship, and finally turn that relationship into positive results for both: the audience has needs to be resolved, companies have products to be sold.

Who is then the focus on the conversation between your company and your audience in social media?

And the question is still alive: Who follows who in social media?

The most common thing to see happening in social media, is a continuous flow of promotional messages that burst into our inboxes asking us to like someone’s page in Facebook without giving us a specific reason, or to follow a Twitter account to “supposedly” have access to more, interesting things, and so on. If we put it simple: messages that are selling us something, whether with or without intention.

Everyone seems to have the solution to our business’ problems, all of them supposedly have an amazing story to tell, every product has the best price, the best conditions, the most innovative things. Did you ever watch “The Incredibles”? If you remember Syndrome, the antithesis of Mr. Incredible in Pixar’s movie, said: "If everyone is super, then nobody is".

And nothing more certain than that because, in an environment where almost all business offer the same thing, who is really special?

If you honestly check the content you share with your audience through your social media accounts, and you get to realize you are continually talking about your products and how good they are, or about the new things you're bringing into the store, or inviting people to follow you without giving them a compelling reason, without adding real value to their lives, or not helping them solve their needs, it is then time to ask the question:

Why are you doing what you are doing in social networks?

You must not forget that social media is based on people, and evolves about their conversations and the relationships that establish between them and how they use those relationships to find solutions to specific problems.

What do you think about people who flood your timeline with promotional messages? How do you feel? What about those who preach for quality over quantity, and repeatedly publish the same content several times every day? What do you think about those who beg you to "like" their Facebook pages but never again follow up with you?

Surely you dislike them as much as I do, but aren’t you doing the same?

What reason are you giving your followers and fans to share the content they receive from you on social networks? Are you connecting with their world and their needs, or just want them to share whatever content you post only to gain more visibility for your business?

Social networking should not become another channel for your business to add "noise" to your "followers’ life", and every time I write the word "followers", the same question comes back to my mind "who should really be following who in social networks?".

The search for a common and intimate space with your audience.

Quite the opposite: social networks should serve to create an intimate space with your customers, a common area where their interests, questions, concerns and needs match the value proposition your company develops.

For more clarity, let me explain: What intimate area do you think a running shoes brand can develop with their audience? At what point can both their interests meet and develop a space for mutual benefit?

Let’s do a little exercise and think about the person who buys a running shoe: Could he or she be interested, for instance, in learning about ways to improve their performance in the race? or what about learning how to avoid knee injuries? or maybe they are interested in knowing which are the best dietary supplements to take while preparing for a competition, or perhaps it will be of tremendous value for them to learn that, if they decrease by 30 minutes the duration of each training session, and train more times within the week, they will increase their overall performance in about 25%.

Have I helped you realize what it means to create a common place, an intimate space with your audience?

It is in this unique space where you will find content interesting enough to give your followers and fans enough reasons to connect with your company and share the content you deliver through social channels.

It is in this space where you will really begin to solve their problems and will start positioning your brand as a leader within its industry or business, where you will be making your audience fall in love with your brand and its proposal, and building it as a memorable one as well, one to be remembered forever.

Keep in mind that if you are helping your customers and your audience achieve their goals, you will be achieving your goals at the same time. It all goes together. Don’t stop at getting people to "Like" your Facebook page or increase your followers count on Twitter. That's important, but definitely is not everything.

Focus instead on really connecting with them, inspiring them, helping them solve real life problems. Aim to influence the way they think and genuinely look to win their heart.

The pulse of social media is the people. People like you and me.

Are you feeding the heartbeat of your audience or you're just taking it all for yourself, without giving anything in return?

Have been my inspiration to write this post:
¿Tienes "Engagement"? written by Reyes Ramón
"Brand stories to be remembered" by Maine Beristain
Why: The Most Important Question in Social Business by Pam Moore

Related post in this blog:
Who follows who in social media

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