What makes marketing on social media different from traditional marketing? It is the attitude behind it. Traditional marketing and advertising is about constructing a message that tells the world how great a company, their product, or their service is. It comes at you like a used car salesman, and doesn’t take into account how you feel, or whether or not you want to see it.
All good social media marketing originates from a different place. It comes from the spirit of sharing, of being sincere and generous with your expertise, of wanting to help people. This is highly effective for individuals in he real world, and it translates to the social sphere.
To explain this idea further, let’s consider the frame of mind that people are in when they are on social sites.
Other than professional platforms such as LinkedIn, the mindset of people on social media is similar to what they would have if they were attending an open house party. They are checking in with their friends, passing along gossip or news about their families, sharing photos, and generally seeking a relaxed social experience.
The goal of people when they are on a social site is one of being sociable. It is not a time when they want to be hit over the head by traditional advertising.
There are two reasons for this. The first has to do with our attention span on the Internet. It’s getting shorter. In 2000 it was 12 seconds. Last year it dropped to eight. That means people on social media don’t want to be bothered by things in which they are not interested.
The second reason gets more to the point about what social media marketing is. Imagine standing at an open house and being cornered by someone who is droning on about how great they are, or how great their business is. Your first reaction is to get away and find a different conversation. You don’t want to listen to that.
The same is true on social media. Social users don’t want to be around others who are bragging, or starting a conversation to sell things. It is insincere, because the business engaging in that type of marketing doesn’t really care about the individual to whom they are talking. They only want a sale. Social users can easily pick up that insincerity.
It is for this reason that used car sales people have a bad reputation. Using people or being insincere is socially unacceptable in the real world, and that translates to the social sphere.
So how do we market socially?
As I stated above, social marketing comes from the spirit of sharing. As a business, you have a certain expertise that others need. The Internet and social media allow you to share little nuggets of that expertise that demonstrate to others that you are an authority in your field. By being open and generous, others will see your expertise and come to you when they have a problem.
I’m not suggesting that you put everything you know about your field out there. I don’t want you to give away your secrets. You do, after all, deserve to be paid for your expertise and your ability to help others.
I am suggesting, though, that you can offer solutions to common problems that show others you know what you’re talking about. Make them very general in nature, and don’t go into detail. Discuss solutions from a 20,000 foot level. When others approach you for more information, you can then sell them on your knowledge of the solution’s details, and your ability to implement or deliver them through your product or service.
Present the fact that you have a solution. Don’t talk about exactly how you will do it, though.
It is a new mindset that marketers must adopt if they wish to be successful on social channels. Social users are savvy, and they will pick up on your intentions if they are not sincere. It takes work, practice, patience and originality. It may not happen overnight. But if you make it your goal to help others by sharing a little of what you know, it will be appreciated and noticed by others.
That is, after all, just how it works in the real word.
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Bob Turner is a certified Social Marketing and experienced Digital Marketing professional with Engage321.