Social Media Marketing: It's like a Cocktail Party
Social media is like a cocktail party. Imagine a room consisting of an amalgamation of fascinating individuals with various backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and ideologies. There are many conversations happening at once. People are talking about themselves, asking questions about the other person, and even engaging in a few friendly (or not-so-friendly) debates. A common thread is discovered, and this is when the conversation gets lively and connections are made. Akin to a cocktail party, social media serves as a platform to build and maintain relationships and leave a lasting impression on one’s guests/audience.
So how does one host a cocktail party in a social media-driven society?
1. Emphasize listening
How many times have you attended a gathering and encountered one or two guests that just won’t stop talking about themselves and THEIR company and THEIR accomplishments? Yeah, don’t be THAT guy. People want their moment in the spotlight and tend to stray away from one-sided conversations. So, before you even engage in a dialogue, take the time to absorb what others have to say.
Social media gives you the unique ability to listen to your customers, prospects, and even competitors. Instead of spending money on advertising and large PR agencies, tap into the focus group that is open 'round the clock, everyday that you can access from almost any modern day device. After you’ve become acquainted with your audience, reach out and ask impactful questions that can help you understand their needs. People don’t want to hear about you (they can just look at your website), they want to know how you can help them.
In the wise and applicable words of Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
2. Tell don’t sell
Story telling plays an integral role in social media. Imagine that your new phone case just came in the mail. You’re so excited to finally put it on your phone and suddenly realize it’s damaged. You tweet a picture of the broken phone case, express your emotions with as many emojis as possible, and maybe put a status up on Facebook that says “UGH AMAZON, MY PHONE CASE IS BROKEN :(.” Although this may seem like a trivial use of social media, you are, in fact, telling a story. These story-telling capabilities can then be translated into something far more impactful and become a powerful tool.
With social media, you can tell a story with a picture, a short 30 second video, or even a 140-character tweet. If the story doesn’t work out for you, you can try again in another hour or the next day because your opportunities are endless. Your central goal should be to earn the trust of clients and be as transparent as possible.
3. Respond to EVERYONE
Here is the scenario: someone doesn’t like the cocktails you offer at your party. Do you ignore them and hope they leave or do you apologize and try to find something that accommodates them?
We all love to receive compliments and praise, but what happens when the feedback is negative? Companies make mistakes (some more so that others), but it’s important to take responsibility for them and reply to the negative comments. Once you reply to a customer’s complaint with an apology, not only are you fixing your relationship with that customer, but you’re showing other prospects that you’re the kind of organization that cares about it’s consumers and their opinions. It’s also important to verbally express appreciation to your consumer base when they write something awesome about your company. Perhaps even give them a reward for being loyal, appreciative customers. Don’t ignore the nice things!
4. Be Valuable
As a customer, we want to know not only that a company can solve our problems, but how. How did you make our day better? Did you make us smile by posting a funny tweet? Did you post a coupon to help us save some money today? How do YOU provide VALUE to US? Establish yourself as a social media leader. Rather than posting about your company's accomplishments and updates, post insights, tips, and articles that can relate to and impact our daily lives. Why is this important? Because people should perceive you as the expert and want to come to your social media accounts to inform themselves about current events, the latest technology, or what’s going on in the investing world.
So, next time when you’re at a cocktail party or on social media, remember: if you want to be a part of a community or build an entirely new one, you need to mix and mingle. Then, when it’s your turn to talk, people will listen.