I have spent my last few posts preaching, from telling you to skinnydip with your audience to chastising you for not being fully present, from telling you to quit liking Facebook Pages to demanding that you be more awesome. Today…well, I’m taking a step back and finding a zen calm in remembering the spirit of social marketing. Getting back to the roots, if you will, I have landed on six attitudes to ground myself when speaking and interacting via social channels. Attitude isn’t everything in social, but it is certainly a part of everything. Being this vs. that can make or break any given post, conversation, or relationship. Hopefully, some of these Be’s will remind us to be our best selves. Sometimes, it helps to stop doing and start being.
To that end, here are my current Be-attitudes of social marketing. My first hope is that something in these tenets resonates with you, perhaps even inspires; my second hope is that you will add your own Be’s to this list, as I have surely not covered them all.
Be Generous (practice Karma)
I’m a big believer in Karma (informally, at least), and social channels provide us with the perfect platform to practice it. Be generous with your likes, comments, shares, tweets, pins, etc. Focusing all of your time on yourself and your content will leave you lonely and frustrated. Be generous with your advice and knowledge. You are an expert in your field (and if you aren’t, add “become an expert” to your to-do’s). Let your audience know why they should come to you and they will: answer questions, post advice, and solve problems. Be generous with your referrals, recommendations, and partnerships. Sometimes it takes giving to get, so use generosity as much as possible.
Be generous with your activity (comments, likes, shares), and you will be rewarded. It’s Karma, and it’s natural. Goodness begets goodness, so be generous with yours. It certainly can’t hurt.
Only you have your personal expertise (and just realizing that is valuable). Be honest with who you are and what you have to offer. Turn that into open advice, and you have a winning combination. Honesty and trust are the foundation of the social space. To be successful, you must be honest with those who have connected with you. Let your audience know why they should trust you, what you can do for them, and that you are available to them (then follow through). Honesty also means facing the music when something goes wrong; don’t run from the truth in times of crisis, and be honest with yourself as soon as you need to be. Honesty, transparency, trust: there is no overstating their importance, so be these things.
People trust other people (not companies, or entities, or brands), so be someone to trust. Be honest and be real with your audience, and they will be real with you.
It is very, very important that you are present and available; your audience expects it of you. At the minimum, visit your social outposts at designated times during the day; better…more than that, but at the very least, check your properties regularly. When you receive engagement (likes, comments, shares, mentions, RTs, mentions, etc.), follow up as soon as possible. Your personal follow-up is highly important to relationship- and trust-building, so don’t delay, especially for something that is likely significantly less important. When a customer engages with you in any capacity (unless it’s blatantly off-topic or intended to harm…in which case, you don’t want them as a customer anyway), they are opening the door. Greet them, be generous, be humble, and listen for how you can help them (then do it). Oftentimes, it’s hard to see the singular interactions that will change the future of your business. But you’re sure to miss them if you aren’t present when they appear.
If you don’t see your social channels as a priority, your audience won’t either. Be there, and let them know that you are there; chances are, they’ll show up for the party.
You know what is important to your business; more so, you know what is important to your customers. Though persona and personality are important to maintain, don’t stray too far from your brand message. In other words, stay away from controversy and ill-timed bandwagon posts, unless it’s part of your brand (I’m looking at you, real-time marketers). And continually find out what’s important to your community (and expect to evolve). How? Simply ask. Bonus: ask simple, relevant questions; the less complicated and less thought required from your audience, the higher the likelihood for engagement. Lastly, we all rely on content calendars. It’s not evil, but it’s certainly not good if you’re a servant to it. Live by your content calendar, don’t die by it.
Every day is a new day and brings with it new points, new challenges, and new opportunities. Think in the moment and post accordingly. Your audience will appreciate it.
Your Page should not be viewed as a one-way marketing channel…not by you and not by your audience. Life is a complex experience, one that extends far beyond your business. Address the breadth of the experience, and you will engage the reality in your community. It’s a tricky balance: being relevant, being holistic, and marketing your products and services; but that is why marketing is work. If you want your social efforts to be successful, you must earn it by connecting and engaging with your fans. If you don’t have an engaged audience to speak to, you won’t have an audience to speak of.
Social Media is about being social (#duh). If I only spoke to you about me, you would stop listening. And I promise to do the same. Remember that your fans are well-rounded, three-dimensional people first; perhaps, on occasion, you should help remind them of this.
Being yourself is the only tactic that will truly work in social (or anywhere else), and it underlies every other point. You, dear reader, are creative, forward-thinking, outgoing, kind, reliable, likeable, approachable, generous, present, real, imaginative, an expert. If your social marketing reflects these attributes, which you already possess, your audience will be drawn to you, to your content, and to your personal brand. Own the space you have created by being yourself, listening to your gut, and relying on your expertise and experience. Be you, and you will see many returns on your investment.
You are your brand’s most valuable asset, both in person and online. Don’t forget to be both. Your audience members are their real selves on social; they expect the same consistency and transparency from you.
For many brands, social is fun. For many others, social is a hassle. But to be honest, for most it is a daily struggle. We’re constantly being told to do this, now do that, now undo what you did before and try it this way, but don’t get too comfortable because changes are coming. Yes, I see the irony with this post, but I hope that being these things helps alleviate some of the friction. In the end, just being is the baseline; it’s the all-encompassing attitude. Try that first, then perhaps all of the doing will fall into place.
Now it’s your turn. What have I missed? What would you add? I’d love to have at least ten of these Be-attitudes to hang in my office, so you are cordially invited to chime in. Go.