Two top tips for business success in social media

6 Aug

Do you know a business that is getting into social media but doesn’t have a real plan?

This is a pretty common conversation I hear these days:

“We are into social media.”

“Good. What are you doing?”

“You know, Tweeting, Facebook. We have a fantastic product and people want to know about it. So we are using social media to get the word out.”

This is delusional.

If everyone thinks their product or service is fantastic – which they do – then there are only great products and services. Does this sound like your experience as a consumer?

Tip #1: Businesses have to start thinking like consumers in order to be effective in this social media game.

Not a bad business strategy overall, come to think of it.

It shouldn’t be hard to achieve because business owners and employees are consumers already. What do consumers want? They want their needs to be more important than yours. They want the conversation to be about them. This should help you plan your social media strategy.

It isn’t just about how many followers and friends you have. It’s about how engaged those followers and friends are with you.

Which leads me to the second tip.

Tip #2: Stop talking to people about how great you are and start asking them instead how you can meet their needs. This will create engagement.

It might mean your business evolves. Perfect. Businesses that don’t evolve have a shelf life. Evolution based on consumer needs seems pretty sound to me.

Go fishing where the fish are. Just don’t start telling the fish what a fantastic fisherman you are.

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8 Responses to “Two top tips for business success in social media”

  1. manu August 6, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    Excellent post! Thank Doug. Insightful as always.

  2. dougbrowncreative August 6, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Thanks for the love Manu!

  3. Janis La Couvée August 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Ah, yes! Now, if we can just teach businesses to engage. What do you think it will take?

  4. dougbrowncreative August 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Janis I think it will take the clients finally internalizing this process instead of hearing about it from the likes of us. When they believe in it, own it and allocate the resources to perpetuate it, then we will see real engagement. Long-term success is yet uncharted, so we’re left to give our best guesses. What do you think?

    Thank you for your comment.

  5. margriet aasman August 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    This really clicked with me, granted a bit off topic.

    We are a few days into the aftermath of a Social Marketing Media Campaign for Social Inclusion/Exclusion. We are not using social media to get our messages out, but the dialogue is happening online. We wanted to jar the Yukoners who don’t experience exclusion with messages to make them feel what it is like… Anyways, we are receiving a rash of negative feedback. My impulse, (which I acted on) was to defend, and prove we were doing the right thing. Reading this blog has made me think, perhaps I should respond by asking what messages would work for them. Especially now that we have their attention.

  6. dougbrowncreative August 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    I think as marketers we have to have confidence that we can generate the content to meet the needs of our customers, and not feel they need to lead the process. So I think you’re right Margriet to reach out to Yukoners, but then you can find interesting and unexpected ways of engaging them. It’s not messaging, and getting messages out there. It’s about learning and responding.

    Thank you so much for that comment and good luck!

  7. Ronnie August 12, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    I’m glad you touched on this! A great example of this is the old spice social media campaign and more closely I’m waiting to see how JetBlue deals with the the “Simon Slater” issue in the manner he quit.

  8. dougbrowncreative August 13, 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Ronnie I believe really good social media, like really good advertising, doesn’t call attention to its tactics. It just finds its place in a matter-of-fact kind of way. The Old Spice campaign isn’t a big social media idea. The agency merely applied the big idea to the new media in relevant ways. Thank you for commenting.

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