The New Social Media Love Potion
By Gil Gerretsen
Social media is a love potion. But it's working on the wrong people and you may be one of the victims!
The pundits and gurus constantly cite the power and importance of social media as part of your marketing efforts. Granted, it certainly is addictive. Go to any restaurant or watch people on the street and note how many people are actively engaged with their phones. For many people, social media has become a deep-rooted habit, but it's not the new customer acquisition tool that many people think it is. It's something else.
We work with a lot of entrepreneurs and have found that almost every one of them thinks they need two things to grow: a good web site and an active social media presence. But ask yourself … does social media really work to recruit new customers? Is it really working like the many experts say? Probably not anywhere near the level you think. Yup ... it's something else.
History teaches us that business is ultimately about relationships. New relationships start and grow because people discover someone else who cares about them. People find someone who is able to help them reduce one of their troubles or achieve one of their aspirations. People want to be "in love" with people, products or services that make their life better.
So how and when do new "love" relationships happen? They happen during conversations between friends. People chatting about their various troubles and aspirations and then helping each other find resolution. They share strategies, tactics and tools that have worked for them.
This means that corporate social media is often directed at the wrong people. The content creators of social media are infatuated with their own creations. The love potion has smitten them. They actively broadcast to the world at large about the wonders of their product or service, convinced that the love potion will be equally powerful on the digital passerby. But that's not how life works. Most people on social media would call themselves "lurkers." They engage some, but mostly they just watch. They're not looking for ways to change how they do what they do. They are just watching what their friends and acquaintances are doing.
Let's consider an alternative approach to your social media marketing. Rethink and redirect your social media conversations to the people who already love you. Your existing friends and customers. Change how you communicate with them in your social media chatter. Encourage them to look around their personal orbit to see if a trusted friend is experiencing a specific trouble or aspiration. Then suggest they use their social media connection to encourage reaching out and helping that specific friend. The core shift in mindset is to stop using social media as a customer acquisition tool and shift it into a one-on-one friendship assistance tool.