– Social Media Marketing Fundamentals –
Social Media Marketing for businesses is pretty straightforward, yet so many miss the mark. Many professionals correctly direct their clients to engage their audience when they are marketing through Social Media. Often missing, however, is the how part of “be engaging.” This generally comes with phrases like “call to action” and “request responses.” But there’s another element that’s often missed, and it’s missed because it’s usually so commonplace that we take it for granted.
Think about this: Your reader will never engage with your “call to action” if you don’t keep them engaged all the way to the call to action. And the easiest way to keep your reader engaged is through the simple act of storytelling. In fact, here’s a little story for you to consider…
– Story Telling in the Eyes of George Gerbner –
Once upon a time, there was a social scientist named George Gerbner. Dr. Gerbner did a lot of research on the effects of television on people. The observation which earned him the most fame is known as cultivation analysis. Cultivation analysis asserts that people who view television for more than four hours per day (“heavy viewers”) are more likely to believe what they see on television than what they perceive in real life. This is because people are, by nature, story tellers. It’s how we learn (for example: “fire hurt me when I touched it…don’t touch fire!”) and progress as a society, and it’s been an integral part of our makeup for longer than the earliest recorded historical documents. Just turn to the ancient Greek author Homer for proof of that.
But something happens when inexperienced marketers try to engage their audience through social media marketing. It’s almost as if this simple principle becomes foreign. And for many, that’s exactly what happens because the goal of social media marketing is very different than using social media for pleasure.
Social media is designed around interaction – that’s obvious enough from the term “social” media. Being social involves telling stories, so normal engagement is really easy because people naturally want to tell stories. But as soon as you want to promote something through social media marketing your goal has changed. You’re no longer trying to be social, you’re trying to get someone to do something. This tends to create a disconnect between the person driving social media marketing and their audience.
– Social Media Storytelling –
So the real question is how to incorporate storytelling into social media marketing so you can keep your audience engaged. Here are a few simple tips to do exactly that:
- Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of what you share should not be you asking your audience to get, do, or buy something. You should either be sharing quality content from other sites which is related to what you do, or you should be telling your audience your own story with zero attempts to get them to get, do, or buy anything. The remaining 20% of what you share can be promotional, but these promotions should come in the form of a story. Refrain from the “Buy now!” mentality. Instead, use social media as a platform to let people know about your product or service. It’s a lot more effective to say something like, “Thanks for being loyal. We wanted to show our appreciation, so we just discounted Widget A by 40% until tomorrow. Thanks so much for being a part of the family!”
- Be Personable. Quite frankly, robots tell boring stories. Interact with your audience and be human. You’ll be a lot more approachable that way. Traditional marketing used to be a one-way stream of communication. The business would create a message and splatter their audience with it. In the age of social media marketing, however, two-way communication is a must and that means asking for and responding to audience feedback.
- Follow the Fundamental Law of Marketing. In my most recent book, In the Beginning – Building a Business without Breaking the Bank, I mention what I refer to as The Fundamental Law of Marketing. Very simply, it’s this: Find out what people want, then give it to them. If you can do this, your audience will soon become motivated salespeople that you don’t have to pay because they’ll share your posts with their friends. The fact is, if your audience wants your content, then so will their connections.
- Help Your Audience Learn Something. In The Pocketbook Guide to Learning Languages I first revealed the Motivation Cycle, which then applied to learning languages. I then incorporated the Motivation Cycle in In the Beginning, and applied the principles of the cycle to purchasing habits of consumers. The core of the Motivation Cycle revolves around your audience experiencing growth. Often this means learning something. Make sure your audience feels this way and you will keep and maintain an active consumer base.
Social media marketing really isn’t complicated. The key is just to make your marketing interactions as similar to your personal interactions as possible. If you can do that, you’ll notice the quality of your social media marketing improve dramatically.
What kinds of pages or people do you follow on social media platforms?