For those working in social media marketing, we need to quickly realize that there are two major truths to work with. Unfortunately, these two truths act as a bit of a contradiction with one another. But it’s our job to blend them together and conquer them like warriors on a battlefield – I know, bad metaphor, whatever.
So what are these two truths? Let me tell you:
The first truth is that without consumer interaction and engagement, your social media campaigns are as good as dead. I hate to be forward and blunt, but that’s the truth. Think of your social profiles as gardens, and know that your work with them needs a great deal of TLC (Tender Love and Care, for those unaware).
The other truth – and here is where we see a bit of clashing – is that the average consumer is not as gullible as we’d like them to be. In the early days of advertising, every billboard ad or television commercial was a Russian novel to the average person who’d never heard of “consumerism” or watched Madmen. They weren’t over-saturated with content and attempts to grab their attention. Now they have become used to our waving hands and can pass through the day (online or off) without giving a second thought to an advertisement.
In the 1970’s, it was estimated that the average American was exposed to about 500-600 advertisements a day. In 2005, that figure been multiplied tenfold, with the exposure rate leaping up to around 5,000 a day. And now, in 2014, with technology and social media becoming so intertwined in our lives, one can only begin to imagine what the number has reached.
This should give you an idea of the daily saturation that is occurring for American consumers. As digital marketers, we need to figure out ways to stand out among the flood. This requires a great deal of thought and diversity.
For social media to work, it requires interaction. This is how it’s different from basic advertising. Most advertisements are centered around making an impression on the consumer, while social media asks to converse.
To open conversation, you cannot simply bark statistics about new products and services. You need to ask the potential customers to metaphorically sit down and chat. This requires some out-of-the-box thinking, as most people are not going to go out of their way to answer a question posed online by a company that’s trying to sell them something.
Empathy through Conversation
This is where the two truths can merge. We need to create empathy. You need to find a way to relate to the consumer on their day-to-day life that will stimulate some sort of connection and reaction to what you may be talking about in your post.
If you’re advertising promotion around a new car, find some new feature in it that may improve a flaw in a previous model but that still relates back to the product, and then ask the consumers about their thoughts on it, or if they think this will actually change the problem.
The key to opening conversation is to find common ground and show the consumers that you’re a human on the other side of the screen and that when they’re interacting with you social media posts, they’re not interacting with a faceless company, but a person who understand their lives, their struggles.
Working in social media gives us the opportunities to experiment with new breeds of advertising. We’re no longer plastering ads that just scream “Buy me! Buy me!,” we’re using the creativity and openness of the platforms like Facebook and Twitter to slowly converse, and hopefully convince, consumers that our product is something that could benefit them in the long run.
We’re given the window to be graceful and smooth, but also sly and tactful. By opening the air and posing questions and emotions and putting in effort to create professional relationships to the potential buyers, we can merge the two truths of social media advertising, create engagement that offers enlightenment, and all flourish within a new type of advertising – a personal type.