social media strategy: it's about giving a damn

Posted on December 10, 2010 by

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Social: …pleasant companionship with friends or associates (Webster’s definition)

Successful social media campaigns all have one thing in common: they’re social (obvious answer right). But people and brands often forget that. This is all about building relationships and being social with people on the web. It’s about connecting with individuals you may or may not know, folks who might never even buy your products, people who just want someone to talk with. It’s about joining a community and interacting with human beings.

What social media is NOT is a sales pitch. It’s not there for you to constantly broadcast your company/ organization. It’s not a place for you to constantly tweet out links to your website or post your latest blog post to your Facebook page.

Brantaga summed this up pretty nicely a few weeks ago in an article titled The #1 Mistake 99.9% of Businesses Make with Social Media:

“Social media success largely depends upon the ability to create numerous honest relationships. Think of it as being the popular kid in school. You want to be the popular business that everyone wants to be associated with. In order to do that, you have to be willing to build genuine relationships with key influencers within your industry. Not just because it will help your business, but because you actually give a damn.”

That’s the key, you have to actually give a damn. The article continues:

“So many businesses are inconsiderate of the foundation of social media and the rules of engagement. Time and time again, we see businesses purely promoting deals through their social media channels. This is an enormous mistake because it’s not appropriate for the platform of social media.

“Consumers want to interact with your business through social media. They don’t want yet another advertisement shoved down their throat.”

Try to think of it from your own perspective. Do you like talking to sales people? Do you like loud obnoxious advertising? Well then don’t do that on social media!

So what should you post?

Obviously you can still use social to promote whatever you’re selling, but you can’t do it all the time. The most successful strategies (at least on Twitter) tend to follow an 80:20 principle. 80% of your tweets should have nothing to do with selling. They should be direct messages, @replies, reponses to other people’s (even stranger’s) comments or questions. These 80% of tweets should be all about building relationships, relationships that may never even equate to sales (“What?” you say “that’s crazy!” But it’s not. The primary purpose of social media isn’t sales. It’s relationships. Sales come later down the road). Use that 80% to show people you actually give a damn.

The other 20% of your tweets can be used to  make soft sells. Use these tweets to run a campaign, or link to your blog, Facebook page, or website. But don’t over do it. People will shut you out pretty quick.

Where does 80:20 come from? I don’t know. This isn’t science class. Some of you may want to follow a 95:5 ratio, while others may get away with 60:40. But don’t push your luck. Better to start out conservative and work your way from there. Beside, people are WAY more likely to follow and retweet you when you’ve taken the time to give a damn and develop that relationship.

“There are numerous reasons a business can fail at their social media campaign, but the biggest reason can be summed up in one word: selfishness.” Don’t be selfish. Learn to talk about others. It’s the only way this is ever going to work.

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