The other day I had quite a long discussion about the effects of social media and how to best attempt a basic leveraging of them. Over the years much has been made about the net effects of social and how it supposedly acts different than traditional media.
I’ll be completely honest in the fact I think that hooey. Social substantively reacts, interacts and acts with the same basic parameters of human behavior marketers have aspired to understand about people for more than 100 years, give or take what sociology and other sciences haven’t filled in the gaps for. In that assumption this rookie forced me to boil down my more complex personal relationship with digital driven social interaction into a simplified attempt at explaining the why and how of a social digital relationship between the company and it’s followers, fans and other digital audience members. Here are my five questions and how you should frame a socially inspired answer
1) Who is your audience? You cannot try to speak to everyone at once, so which segments of your base, potential users, etc. are you talking to? What are their demographics and psycho-graphics, and in that more important what are their needs?
2) what is the value proposition of the post itself? Not why is the company posting it, but what need does the post fulfill for the audience. If you aren’t fulfilling a segment’s need, why are you posting in the first place??
3) What is your tone, your voice, your framing and intent? Speak to the audience within the brand identity of the product, nothing is worse than not using language that represents the brand in a way that the audience can consume it. If your band voice doesn’t match the segments you are targeting maybe you need to re-evaluate one, or both in the marketing mix.
4) What action are you driving? If you aren’t providing a reason for engagement why are you posting. Give a reason to be interactive and engage with it, such as encourage a share/repost or elicit comments/replies at a minimum (but know what the potential is for reactions and anticipate the worse before you do!). Simply posting for the sake of posting does nothing, and be sure to relate the action to the value proposition and the deliverable / tracking.
5) How are you quantifying and qualifying the results? One of the number one problems of social media is it content is created but the results aren’t well enough justified … analyzed. Find out what analytics are available and utilize them to determine the ROI (return on investment) of engaging an audience via social media so you can figure out if similar posts are worth doing again, if the timing of the post helped or hurt, does it have incremental lift beyond normal marketing avenues, etc.
Finally, include a link, an image (memes are big right now, for example) or something else to augment the words whenever possible. People are inspired by much more than words. They are visual creatures, so don’t get caught in the trap of trying to make everything textual, use the context of what’s available to draw people in. This touch point will dynamically change over time so it’s more important to know the click trends then necessarily follow a single rule on what it is. That doesn’t diminish anything else, an image can still fulfill most of the five steps above without any additional copy per se.