With the focus of social media marketing being the creation and maintenance of relationships with customers and associates it is important to understand the basics of interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication is social dialogue taking place between two or more individuals. Think of yourself and your customers as being communicators.
According to the American Psychological Association, “During the give-and-take of discourse, the communicators exchange facts, ideas, views, opinions, emotions, and intentions in such a way as to enhance or impede social relationships; create, maintain, and adapt identities; and create or resolve conflicts.” When you are creating social objects for the use of interacting with your associates and customers, remember that the content of these objects is crucial in defining those relationships and identities.
Start the Dialogue with Valuable Content
The name of the game is creating good content. If you want to establish your identity or brand as a credible and valuable resource, make sure that the content you are creating in your social objects reflects that objective. You don’t want to spend the vast amount of your time simply marketing your brand, but rather building your brand’s credibility so that outbound marketing becomes almost unnecessary.
Building your brand’s credibility, or inbound marketing, creates a two-way communication with your customer as opposed to the one-way information dissemination of outbound marketing. In order to accomplish your goal of building credibility with your customer, your communication needs to include factual, well-thought-out, and/or innovative ideas and opinions.
Keep your customers’ objectives in mind. You can maintain your objective of becoming a valuable resource by actually aligning your content with your customers’ objectives. They are looking for something. Give it to them. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself if you are giving them what they want and need. Doing this will help you identify the information you can give that will be most useful to them and, in turn, keep them coming back for more.
It’s All in the Presentation
In addition to the content of the communication, take into account the format of the content. A delicacy served on a paper plate isn’t worth as much as it is when presented on a china plate with a garnish. It’s all in the presentation. You may have extremely valuable content but if it is just thrown together without much effort put into the final presentation of the content, the social object you have created isn’t worth as much as it would have been with an enticing format. This isn’t to say that the content has become entirely worthless but it won’t be recognized as something of great value without the proper presentation.
It is human nature to be attracted to aesthetically pleasing things. Simplicity plays an important role in aesthetics. The general public is not interested in something that is over-complicated and time consuming. You can simplify your content without losing any of its integrity by presenting the key points of the subject matter and leaving out anything that doesn’t directly support the key points and doesn’t provide an element of entertainment.
Social objects can be, and quite often are, both informational and entertaining. Keep the entertainment relevant to your objectives. Hubspot has an excellent example of multitasking their social objects by providing information and entertainment with their web series, Foursquare Cops. When combining the element of entertainment in your social objects be careful to keep a good balance of entertainment and information. Your audience should still feel like they got some valuable information from your entertaining content.
Distributing Your Valuable Content
Focus your distribution efforts. Much of marketing, whether inbound or outbound, is trial and error distribution. Keep track of which communities your social objects are most successful in. Cater to the needs and desires of your customers. If your customers in one community seem to like one type or format of social object better than another, provide more of that type or format to the community in question.
Continually monitor the success or failure of your social objects. Social media is constantly changing and so are your customers’ wants and needs. The former appeal of one type of social object may be replaced by another. Keep up with the changes by keeping a close eye on the response to your social objects. Monitor your bounce rate, feedback and any other important analytics to your brand closely. You don’t want to be hung out to dry because you didn’t accommodate quickly enough.
“If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try again.” (1840 T. H. Palmer Teacher’s Manual 223) This old adage is appropriate for the world of social media marketing. If you don’t find immediate success, persevere until you do. This may mean changing some of your strategies or finding some innovative way to reach your customers. One positive aspect of social media marketing is that you don’t have to follow the crowd. Be adventurous and find the most effective combination of content, presentation and distribution for your brand.
For this and other articles by Brad Hess please visit http://www.mymark.com/blog. Brad Hess is CEO and Founder of MyMark. I made my mark with www.mymark.com, providers of an integrated personal profile, blog, eStore, and home base for all your social media, personal branding, article marketing, blog marketing, professional networking, and ecommerce activities.