Social Media Marketing

In this article, I want to talk about why social media marketing works and what it is that attracts people to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkenIn. The key is that people want to be empowered to interact, express themselves and decide for themselves what is or is not important. Social media sites are a platform and a gateway that give users the ability to do just that without imposing control or restrictions on their creativity and what they want to do.

Social Media Marketing

I have already talked about the fact that in utilizing social media, marketers no longer control the message or the medium and that in building your brand you must add value in order to build credibility and trust. Here, I want to look more at the psychology that drives social media and how your sales and marketing can realign to these basic human impulses and shift to a new paradigm in growing your business. The same principles that govern social media will necessarily govern social media marketing as well.

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Social Media Marketing Principle #1:
People Want to Interact

Blogging, commenting, chatting, online forums and other interactive forms of online communication have been around for years. The main achievement of social media has been bringing the idea of online communities to the masses. The fact that everyone is now online and using social media sites means that it is no longer just the ”geeks” and ”techies” who are spending hours a day of their time meeting and conversing with others. As a society, we long ago transcended the use of computers as powerful calculators and our human desire to interact with others has created a whole world of communities and experiences online.

Social Media Marketing

In the commentary to her documentary film We Live in Public, writer / director Ondi Timoner talks about how addictive it is to engage with others online 24/7. If you use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or if you have ever taken part in a discussion on an online forum, you know how great it feels to have someone respond to a comment you post or engage you in some other shape or form. In a strange way, it is almost more appealing then saying “Hi” to someone in real life, but we will leave it to the psychologist to figure that one out! For now, the main take away is that people want to be part of the conversation and not simply be talked to which is what sales and marketing has done in the past.

Social Media Marketing Principle #2:
People Want to Express Themselves

A big part of interacting with others online is the ability to express oneself and a big part of that is feeling recognized and admired for your thoughts. Perhaps that is a big reason that interacting with others online feels so good; because we cannot see each other, the whole conversation is based on the value of our thoughts and it feels good to have our opinions validated by others. Whatever the case, as I mentioned before, people seek to identify with other groups and people online who share similar interests and values.

Social Media Marketing

Wouldn't it be great if thousands of people were talking about your product(s) or service(s)? Part of what social media marketing tries to achieve is just that, or at least having thousands of people be aware of you and what you represent, which is your brand. A goal in Internet viral marketing – and sales and marketing in general - is to be remarkable so that other people talk about your business or pass along your message. Social media marketing seeks to achieve a similar effect but, of course, in a social setting where it is not approach to toot your own horn, so to speak. Rather, the way your message is propagated in this medium is by developing a presence on social media sites and being approachable so that people can interact with you and refer others who are interested in your field of expertise.

Social Media Marketing Principle #3:
People Want to Experience New Things

The reason that word of mouth advertising is so effective is because people not only like sharing interesting experiences with others but also like learning about and doing new things themselves. How this ties into promoting your brand is that you are seeking a dialog with people in which you not only share but also learn. It is crucial to remember that this is a two-way street and that your primary focus is not sharing about your business but rather sharing about the common interests that you have with those that you meet online. The way a dialog evolves is a back-and-forth process where all parties contribute and the outcome is not directed by any one person.

Social Media Marketing

In the past, sales and marketing was about transmitting your message to as many people as possible. Some would be interested and others would not be and you would go from there. Over time, these methods and the communication technologies we use evolved to become more encompassing to the point where you sought permission to engage people and the conversation is now open-ended. The business dictum of the past was that most people would say ”no” to you and that was just a part of life. With social media marketing, the dictum is that you must give more that you receive and this is especially true when you begin trying to build a presence using social media. Remember that not everyone is going to want to engage you but that you must nevertheless always provide valuable and professional contributions.

Social Media Marketing Principle #4:
People Want to Influence (and be Influenced!)

Part of our collective desire to socialize is the broadening of horizons that takes place when we meet new people and learn new things. People want to take part in stimulating conversations with others and social media allows that to happen on an unprecedented scale. Simply by having access to a site like Facebook, you have the opportunity to seek out and interact with countless others who share your interest and who you would otherwise not have had the opportunity to meet. People are naturally receptive to the ideas of others and seek to associate with those that they identify with in a continual search for and expression of self. As a social sales and marketing professional you must gently coax this principle into working for you, seeking to engage others in a meaningful - not manipulative - way where sharing and learning takes place on all sides.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is an interactive process where the goal is to build relationships and, essentially, make new friends. While your objective is not to maximize your number of friends, follower and connections, it is to be visible and create credibility and trust. The number of people in your immediate circle of acquaintances is not key but rather your ability to meet new people, widen your circle of influence and create social capital by engaging in ever more numbers of people and groups who share the same interests and values as you do. This is a longterm and ongoing process of sowing seeds and connecting with people one at a time. You are the human face of your business and are able to communicate personality while professionally representing your brand.

Social Media Marketing Principle #5:
People Want Freedom

A big part of the power of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is that, once again, there are no restrictions on what people do on these sites (as long as they are used properly). In a general sense freedom means liberation from any and everything that is perceived as a hamper on our wellbeing, but in sales and marketing terms the goal is to empower people to make their own decision. The clever marketing of the past that sought to monopolize and control people's thoughts does not work in today's online society where a marketing message can be analyzed and verified through instantaneous interactions with countless others. Social media makes people immune to being spoon fed the ideas and opinions of others

Social Media Marketing

You must relinquish the promotional sales and marketing mindset of the past and see yourself as just another social media user in order to be successful in social media marketing. You are not there to promote a message or agenda – at least not explicitly! - and therefore you, too, should seek to do what everyone else is doing on social media sites which is interact, express yourself and share experiences with others. This leveling of the playing field, so to speak, brings the marketer and consumer onto the same level and is the real freedom that social media provides. For the average person, it is not something that must be learned but for a business professional such as yourself, you must unlearn some of your past behavior and seek to meet people in a genuine fashion as equals. Like I have said before, the secret to success in using social media marketing is not a new form of communicating with people but rather adopting a social as opposed to a marketing mindset!

Get help with social media marketing or share your expertise and experiences!

Social Media Marketing FundamentalsSocial Media MKTG TipsTop Social Media MKTG BrandsSocial Media MKTG StrategiesHow to Meet PeopleWhat is Internet Viral Marketing?Applying Internet Viral Marketing PrinciplesInternet Viral Marketing TipsInternet Viral Marketing SuccessesInternet Viral Marketing FlopsSales and Marketing for "You"Social Media Consultant

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Social Media Marketing Is About Being Social 
It is so true that where most people go wrong with social media marketing is to see it as an extension of their existing sales and marketing practises. …

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