I know that this may be a no-brainer to some, but I figured I’d want to establish a foundation first before I get to the more intricate and advanced details on social media marketing. In order to tackle the building of that foundation, I’m going to ask a simple question: What are the underlying basics of social marketing?
Well to start off, it has to be… SOCIAL. That’s a good start, right? But what does being “social” mean in the online, virtual world? Knikkolette already touched base on the fact that you have to be “conversational” in essence, which I totally agree on. In diving further, let’s take “conversational” into the next level of definition: what does that look like on different social mediums like Twitter, Facebook, etc?
3 Principles in Social Conversations
Your conversations should take on various forms and messages, depending on what you’re trying to do. What I try to establish in most of my tweets and posts is to adhere to three different principles: Educate, Edify, and Entertain. You most likely won’t establish all of these in one post all of the time, but I try to ensure that each post touches on at least one or two of these principles.
Educate your friends
Education in your social spheres plays out in various different forms. Some posts can be about similar or relevant content that someone in your sphere had originally posted. With that note, retweeting or sharing that post/tweet, including your comments and notes can be a part of that education process. Other ways to educate is to ask questions that are relevant to what your audience/friends/users are looking for. Jason Falls from Social Media Examiner does an excellent job on educating his audience by posting relevant content that teaches social media WHILE asking questions about that subject, whether those be questions about the content, questions about improvements on the content, and so forth. By doing both, he gets to display the types of educational content that his audience needs while simultaneously being able to understand the other needs that his social sphere requires. This type of social targeting makes it easier to research social relationship behavior and user needs for other types of content.
Edify your friends
Dictionary.com defines edify (and more specifically to edify as a verb) as to “instruct or benefit, especially morally or spiritually; uplift.” Why is this something that you should do, and what is the difference between educating someone and edifying someone? Education is solely just that, to educate and instruct. Edification goes beyond that, instructing with a purpose. Why do I do it? Because I want people to succeed in their understanding of marketing, and when they are instructed with a purpose to be filled in their knowledge and wisdom, not just for “education purposes,” they get a sense of fulfillment that they achieved something that is of value and substance. I believe that helping your friends and social sphere feel awesome about what they have accomplished, what they know, and the wisdom that they’ve gained from it, makes them a more potent and substantial platform for others to learn from.
More importantly, it speaks of your leadership value, AND you get to see the fruits of your labor.
Entertain your friends
How many people here actually like to read funny articles, posts and tweets online instead of learning? (I raise both hands!) I’m a big fan of the LOL/Icanhascheezburger family, so entertainment is a key to staying sane in my line of work. Posting and sharing something funny is normal conversation online, similar to telling the person next to you a funny joke. How you communicate to your friends in any social method is no different to how you like to tell jokes or entertain on a personal level, with the exception to the obvious. Entertainment that is fun, enjoyable, and not corrosive to any relationship actually makes it easy to relate better, and you will definitely tell who will respond to your posts.
Why are these principles important?
It all goes back to your customers/friends/sphere of influence. When you’re doing social media marketing, it’s more than just about relationships: it’s about quality relationships. How you educate, edify, and entertain them will have an impact on how you conduct your online relationships. More importantly, if you’re doing SMM for your business, your ability to engage and retain users and customers in your business relies heavily on these principles. For example:
- Your ability to provide them relevant content that’s targeted to their needs/businesses (especially in a B2B setting) is going to help your customer funnel and ultimately your bottom line (sales/revenue).
- Your ability to engage your audience in meaningful conversations that tailored to their business (or yours) will help you generate interest and buzz, and thus help you get more out of your marketing. Continued engagement in this format will ultimately increase your online brand value.
- Your ability to entertain your customers and users in their own level makes creats a more personable outlook about you, helps de-stress any potential or existing conflicts, and also makes your company/brand more down-to-earth. Lots of people want someone they can trust and talk to that won’t treat them like a bunch of numbers or dollar signs.
Try these principles out and see what you think. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I would be more than happy to help.