Bob Garfield, long-time marketing and media reporter for Advertising Age magazine recently wrote an article about the commonly mistaken mindset many marketers have about using social media. His article was really geared toward consumer marketers, but the idea behind it is extremely relevant for those of us who market meetings and events as well, so it seems well worth noting here.
The key message is clearly stated in his headline, “Social Media is About Cultivating Community, not Corralling Cattle.” He feels, and I agree that while most marketers these days are smart enough to realize they need to include social media in their marketing mix, they still view it the same as any other media they use to help drive sales to the bottom line.
While the ultimate goal of any marketing is to drive sales, social media MUST be looked upon and handled differently if it is to help with that bottom line goal. Too many marketers fall into the trap of approaching social media with the “advertiser” mindset – talk enough about my features, benefits, and brand to get the target to buy. So their social media efforts are full of features, benefits and brand. What happens? Their target gets quickly turned off and wants nothing to do with them anymore.
The goal of your social media effort needs to be building a community, not selling a product, service, or meeting. They already know you and are interested in you or they would not be following you. Provide content that is valuable, engaging and interesting to them. Content they want to share with others – that’s how you build community. Content like relevant news, polls, contests, pictures and videos.
Then you won’t have to use your social media to sell, because your followers will do it for you.