*This content was previously published on Social Conversations in June 2010. Social conversations was a product of Serengeti Communications which closed in 2012
This post is part of a series entitled The Four Pillars of Social Media. This week’s topics revolve around the third pillar, Engagement.
According to the Business.com Social Media Benchmarking Study in businesses who are implementing social media marketing strategies, in over 66% of these businesses it the marketing department driving the initiatives. Most likely there’s been some word handed down from on high to the marketing department saying “we need this social media stuff” or “we need to be talking about ourselves out in social media, now!“ If it were only that simple right?
Of course companies want to talk about themselves, their brands, their services. They want to push their very carefully crafted messages out to the social media communities because they think that’s what’s going to win them kudos in these communities that are talking about them that they’ve found through buzz monitoring tools. Here’s the thing that marketers most of the time completely miss the mark on:
It’s Not About You.
Really, honestly, I’m not lying here – it’s not about you, your brand, your company’s product or services. It’s about them. It’s about the community member’s experience. It’s about what the community member is sharing. At the time they could be experiencing something with you or sharing something about you, but at the end of the day, it is purely about the experience the community member has had. That’s why marketers need to check their egos at the proverbial door when they enter into the world of social media marketing.
That’s a pretty tall order to do, as marketers we want to promote our company, brand, product or service. We want people to listen to us, we want people to “want us”. That’s why we’re in social media marketing, that’s why we’re here, right?
Social media is about sharing and engaging. Sharing experiences, engaging in conversations, giving knowledge, tips, information and items of value. Value isn’t determined by the company or the marketer putting the information out there. It’s determined by the person in the community who’s consume that content. As much as you think there’s value in some piece of content that’s put out there on your blog or in your video channel, if the audience doesn’t find value in it, it really doesn’t matter what you (as the marketer) think. That can bruise even the more sturdy egos out there.
Determining what a community is going to find of value requires engagement. It also requires companies to let go of preconceived notions of what they think people view their products or services as. Having an open mind and letting go of that death grip of control over your brand can help you immensely when you are engaging in social media. By opening the doors to your customers to define value, you can open the doors to a much more successful social media marketing strategy.