Social Media: You’re using it wrong

I do not like the phrase “social media marketing.” I feel that those words are a contradiction. Social media will not save your business. It can help, and it can hurt but it will not be your hail mary pass. Use it when appropriate but make sure you have the goods to back it up.

Social media has been adopted by people of all ages, but I do not think I am incorrect when I say it was created for my generation. I have grown up with it. I am immersed in it. I am savvy. I will not be fooled by traditional marketing squeezed down to fit in 140 characters of new media. Nope. I have the power to not click that link. I know it. My peers know it. So unless you give me a good reason to, I won’t. And if you post pointlessly and too often. I will delete you. Unlike most people my father’s age, I know where that button is.

Social media is not marketing; It’s PR. Can it be used to support a marketing plan? Yes. And it should be. Your social media presence is there to interact with your customers, clients, followers, or friends. You offer them feedback, a way to interact with a company. This is especially important for large corporations spread out over several markets or smaller companies with an abstract model. We don’t have a real “store front.” No one will happen upon our location and come inside. We like it that way. It works for us. So to reach our customers we must be available in a different way.

New clients see what we do from our website. They find out who we are from our social media presence. And we get new clients primarily by recommendation from those who like what they’ve learned and decided to try it out for themselves.

Do not tell people that you are the best. Your observer will decide that for themselves. It is what each of us do every time that old high school friend that you don’t really talk to anymore posts a picture. We either think: “Boy, she’s gotten fat.” or “Gah, why can’t I have her life?”

Feel free to point out accomplishments. Congratulate yourselves in a pseudo humble way. It’s what the rest of us do on Facebook. But link to the story of someone else saying you are the best. They liked you enough to give you an award. There is nothing wrong with displaying it on your digital mantle.

Social media is a public forum that can seem like an exclusive club. It is a place you should be listening more so than talking. You make them feel special with exclusive offers and sneak-peeks. You will get valuable and genuine opinions in return. Your customers will tell you how to improve. They will tell you what they want. Listen to them; improve.

An article by Chris Brogan that I came across when making sure I didn’t steal someone else’s blog title stated very simply, “Social media is a set of tools that permit regular people access to potential audiences of shared interest.” I listen to my coworker tell our clients that this piece or brand of equipment is not better than another, they are all just tools. It is how you use those tools that make someone a good cinematographer, marketer, etc.

Know you tools. Know your audience. Know when to listen.

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