Social media marketing: Reality vs fantasy

whats-on-your-mindIn my WordPress Wednesday blogs, I talk about using WordPress and fine-tuning your blogging for sales and profits but today I want to go one step further to your social networking content.

Of course, sharing your strategically positioned blogs with your communities in Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and other channels is important but in between those posts there is a great temptation to ‘fill our streams’ with shiny, enticing hurrah content.

This is because much social sharing content between individuals does err to the shiny, enticing side of life, as a new, short film, called What’s on your mind?, makes clear.

Let me explain why this is worth pondering today.

What’s on your mind?

You do not have to be using social channels very long before noticing how most people around you appear to be living an exciting, interesting, ‘better’ life than you.

People are at opening nights, doing crazy things with friends, enjoying a wander through Paris, preparing another outstanding presentation, or just simply cruising through life sublimely.

As marketers of our businesses or organisations, we need to be aware of what’s going on and the various dynamics and forces at play when people publish social content.

In part, this happy clappy view of life is because, just like the mass media, many of us tend only to ‘report’ those occasions that we consider noteworthy. The danger (or desired outcome) is that our audiences assume such highlights mirror normality.

But we should also be aware that many users feel a pressure to fabricate or tweak their status updates to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, as this movie shows.

Are our updates helping or hindering?

When we share social updates as part of our marketing output, I believe we need to be mindful of how they help or hinder our target markets.

If we go too far down the ‘all is great’ path, we risk exacerbating feelings of low value and disbelief among our audiences.

If we go too far down the ‘all is normal and kind of mundane’ path, we risk people tuning out or turning to competitors.

One of the reasons why we help clients hone a ‘voice’ for their communication is to provide a compass for knowing the most valuable tone and position to adopt across all messaging, especially in social media, and it also helps identify attractive and less-attractive topics.

The real rule of thumb is:

  • stay close to the decisions made when developing your marketing plan
  • remain clear on who you are trying to target
  • continually hone the compelling features and benefits that will be of most relevance to them
  • treat social conversations as seriously as any other avenue of public discourse, even moreso because the conversation is taking place with a large audience observing your conduct and content

An even more succinct summary would be:

in all things be genuine and relevant

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish editing my new marketing text book before heading up the mountain for one last ski in Aspen with Sir Richard Branson 😉