Is your company struggling with social media? Do you even know if it is?
Despite the overwhelming daily tips, articles, ideas and videos about how companies can do social media better, too many companies are still falling flat. More troubling than that is most companies do not even realize it.
Our Company Does Social Just Fine, Thank You Very Much
You’ve got a Facebook page, a Twitter account and Pinterest boards. You post regularly to both, timing it to spread out content and checking for interactions and shares, new followers or likes, or bad reviews.
Companies have trouble with social media for the very reason that most companies are not social. Sure, the individuals who manage it are, but unless you give a persona, voice, identity to your company, you can’t expect someone to just automatically be able to engage with the audience.
Marketing teams in companies are used to talking AT customers, offering direct mail pieces announcing events, sales or other news. That’s not social.
Social Media: two-way communication
To be successful at social media, you have to be social. You have to interact with your audience. It takes time, dedication, patience and a lot of work. The most overlooked part of it is, though, LISTENING.
I’m not referring to the idea of social media listening, where you track mentions and buzz about your company, your brand. I’m referring to regular, old fashioned listening. Listen to your customers, find out what they’re interested in, respond to it.
The challenge for companies to take down the barrier between the customers and the communication. Instead of telling them what’s going on, listen to what they’re talking about and learn from them.
Social Media: It Works If You Work It
A retailer I follow is active on social media, from blogs to posts, tweets to pins, they’re everywhere their retail audience is. But they still talk AT their audience.
On Pinterest they post their products, correctly to the aptly labeled board, and categorize their pins very well. They have a great variety of pins, and they follow and repin at a good rate.
But … even their own pins don’t link to their website, their descriptions are not keyword rich, their comments are product description copies, and they don’t comment on the boards and pins of others. They never follow individual boards, opting instead for “Follow All”.
Their missing the basic opportunities. But it’s worse than that. The industry they are in is one of the blatantly obvious popular categories on Pinterest. The DIY pins you cannot miss are all around them, and yet they don’t tailor their offerings, events, seminars or discussions to take advantage of that. They continue to offer their customers their own products, in the exact way they sell them. They don’t customize their seminars and demos to the DIY crowds that buy from them. They don’t package their products to meet what their customers are all but directly asking them for.
Your competitors are.
So Now What?
David Sedaris wrote a description once of strangers entering his home and how in an instant he saw his own home as someone else would for the first time, including the dead mouse on the doorstep, the knives (archaeological artifacts) decorating the walls, etc.
His point was, well, his point was to be hilarious, and as more often than not, he succeeded, but the point I want to make about that is how we become comfortable in our own surroundings that we stop seeing them.
For marketers to get like this is the death knell. You must ALWAYS take the perspective of your customer, to understand what they are responding to, and how they need the products packaged to them.
You don’t need a new list to talk at, you need a new perspective to find out what to say.