One word in the above subject line is the problem. I’ll give you the time it takes to read this sentence to figure it out… “CAMPAIGNS.”
Last night, I attended an Internet Week panel during which there was much discussion about influence and social media campaigns. If all you think about is campaigns, you are missing the whole concept of social media (I’m going to ignore the argument about the term “social media” for now as, for the sake of this post, everyone understands what I mean when I say “social media”). Social media makes a lot of things possible but at its core, it is an interaction platform. Let’s say you meet someone at, for example, an Internet Week panel. You find each other interesting and think you may want to do business in the future. You’ve generated enough interest to exchange information. You then never contact this person again. As a result, you will not do business. It’s the same with social media. A campaign is like that first impression that generates the original interest (aka a follow, Like, share, etc.). If you generate interest, you then NEED TO ENGAGE with people to get their business. And not just once publicly to 200 or so out of the tens of thousands of people amongst whom your campaign generated interest. Here’s looking at you, Old Spice campaign that people STILL incorrectly use as the shining example of social media marketing. Yes, it was brilliant to respond to tweets with videos on YouTube. No, it did not make sense that there was little to no engagement with the tens of thousands of people who expressed interest but weren’t given a video response. Responding on Twitter is so much easier and much more scalable than making a new video. Have a few people dedicated to interacting with the new followers (create one or so less videos to pay for this if need be). On top of all this, the Old Spice campaign was exactly that, a campaign. As Gary Vaynerchukhas pointed out many times, the marketers fell short because they generated all this interest and once the campaign was done, left the thousands of gained followers sitting there, stagnant.Social media is about the conversation. It’s about talking with people. It’s about generating relationships. Brands can use social tools to generate relationships with current/potential customers that then, if the cards are played right, turn into (greater) revenue-generating customers. But if all a brand is after is generating that follow or Like, they are missing the whole point. Talk with those who are interested in your product or service. Find out what they want. Provide them with value (tips, content, deals, whatever makes most sense). Show them how you can benefit their lives in some way, large or small. Turn them into happy customers who want to talk about your brand. The conversation on social platforms around brands is exactly that, a conversation. Stop thinking of social media as a one and done medium. Join in and add ongoing value.