It’s SOCIAL Media, not I-Care-Only-About-Me Media

Lisa Sullivan Walk For Hope 2012

I’m just going to start with this –STOP IT!

Stop treating social media like it’s all about you – YOUR products, YOUR services, YOU. Because guess what folks? It’s not.

Stop asking questions like:

  1. How do I get more followers?
  2. How do I get people to “like” my Page?
  3. How do I get a sale from this? (and I know this one is going to rub some people the wrong way but hear me out)

More followers, more fans, more sales are RESULTS of what you do from the content you share – whether it’s original or from another source.

Here’s the key – provide content that is valuable to your audience, that educates, entertains, ENGAGES them. It is SOCIAL media after all. BE social. CARE about what your audience cares about… and definitely don’t half-ass it either. Here’s a great example of that.

The day Hurricane Sandy made landfall causing incredible destruction, the likes of which Lower Manhattan has never seen, that changed the Jersey shore forever, that caused an enormous amount of flooding (and snowfall in the West Virginia mountains), The Gap Tweeted this –

Gap Tweet During Sandy

To which they also received quite a backlash from causing the company to subsequently remove the post and respond like this –

(I apologize for the blurry images.)

Sometimes it’s not about your product or service. Sometimes it’s just about providing helpful information to your audience, especially in the case of a crisis impacting millions of people.

To me, this shows both a lack of sincerity AND experience in social media marketing (and boy, I hate calling it that too). If as a brand you are engaging with your audience by providing relevant, informative (and sometimes entertaining) content that causes them to want to engage back by following, friending, connecting, pinning, sharing, etc. THEN you are not only building your brand’s awareness, but you are also actually becoming valuable to those you reach online. That speaks volumes. The numbers ARE important. Don’t get me wrong. But, you can’t gain those numbers without providing a strong, valid reason for people to want to engage with you. Throwing in a “quick hit” about a news item and combining that with your goal for that moment (in this case it was to increase traffic to the link the Gap provided) was the wrong move.

What we did on the Fonville Morisey Facebook Page was completely more appropriate…and it really wasn’t about us either.

FMRealty Red Cross Facebook

We may not be in the area affected by the Hurricane, but we are a family and we each have families and working with buyers and sellers is about helping families. With this one Facebook post our goal was to encourage others to help families in the affected areas providing information about the American Red Cross AND the Triangle Area Red Cross closer to home(tagging both in the post too). This post ended up with a virality of 4.28% reaching over 110 individuals. If just one of them responded to this and  “talked about it”, we’ve done our job to spread the word about the needs of the Red Cross while building brand awareness at the same time. Now, THAT’S a win-win!

Bottom line, Folks…it’s not about you. It’s about what you can do to provide value to your audience with content that they WANT to engage with you in. Every once in a while stepping away from YOUR business to show a little sensitivity and compassion, I guarantee you is welcomed and respected. And guess what – you WILL gain those fans, followers, friends, connections. Better yet, they’ll be more apt to purchase from you, use your service, or equally important, refer you to someone that needs your product or service down the road.

Remember, people will do business with those they like, know, and trust. Give them a reason to like you, know you, and above all – trust you.

It’s “SOCIAL” media and not “I-care-only-about-me” media.

Oh and before you ask, I do hope The Gap has learned from this mistake cuz I like their products and I’ve got some Christmas shopping to do. I’ll give them another chance. Just don’t blow it this time, guys.

If you’re a brand, how did YOU tie-in Hurricane/Frankenstorm/Superstorm Sandy into your engagement with your audience? I’d love for you to share…but only if it was positive. Perhaps you’ll inspire other brands and business owners to follow suit the next time.

Lisa Sullivan Walk For Hope 2012

Me (I’m the one with the arms spread wide) on the Walk For Hope in Raleigh, October 14th, 2012.

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