The last entry of the series was a bit extreme, but true in every aspect.
This week’s entry is still an introduction to the series. At the last minute, I realized we need to build a stronger premise before we dive into the practical strategies of content and social media marketing.
Before I continue this series, I want to re-stress a point I made in PART 1. I’m no expert; I’m learning with you. I’m a dedicated researcher, and I believe in the DO mentality: if you do and teach, you’ll learn more than you can imagine.
Last week I worked hard to give you an overview of what the journey through social media and content marketing will look like, and I wanted you to know, the experience will be different than any form of traditional marketing you’ve implemented in the past. And, to succeed, you’ll have to realize that the times are changing. You can’t hold onto the old way of advertising. If you do, then your brand will likely fail.
I’ll focus on the old vs. the new in a future post, but for the time being, I want you to remember two very important lessons while you trek through this journey.
1. Listen and converse
During thanksgiving, my uncles, aunts, and silly family members –I love them to death- all go to my grandparent’s ranch outside the city and dig into a juicy, caramelized turkey and stuffing to celebrate the great holiday. During these family gatherings, we all sit around the table and enjoy some family bonding time. We bond by having a conversation together, and this conversation can’t happen without two elements: listening and contributing.
Conversation is one of the greatest traditions in history. It’s the foundation of building connections and growing relationships. It’s what makes the business world spin.
In fact, your customers will not become personally invested in your products, passions, or IDEAS, if you do not converse with them –and that means talking to them and not at them. You’ve been in the situation where someone keeps talking and talking to you and the person dismisses your contributions. It’s obnoxious, it’s bothersome, and you definitely check out of the interaction and stop caring about what the person has to say. Usually by this point, your head travels to the clouds and you begin thinking about something that actually matters to you; and it’s probably not what the talker has to say.
In this case, if the talker was your organization and the person who dozed off into a daydream was a potential customer or client, then you just missed out on an opportunity to build a relationship or gain a customer. You had the person in front of you, and they were listening; but, you lost their interest. You talked at the person and not with the person.
That’s why the social, online world is amazing! It lets you have a conversation with the world rather than talk at the world. Talking at the world is what companies are doing when they broadcast an advertisement on television. Taking with the world is what happens when you become actively engaged in social networking sites or content marketing… it’s letting your customers contribute to the identity of your business.
2. Be Present
At times, one of our family favorites, or un-favorites, can’t make it to our thanksgiving celebration. His or her absence from the dinner table usually sparks a conversation about him or her. At times, the conversation is wonderful. We talk about the great decisions Aunt Milda or Uncle Bob has made lately, but the conversation doesn’t always steer in a positive direction. Every once in a while, someone might bring up how Uncle John needs to turn his life around. Unfortunately, Uncle John might actually be doing quite well, but he’s not there to join the conversation and change our minds. Being present is KEY.
People are out there talking about your business, product, passions, or organization over social networking sites whether you’re paying attention or not. So, why not be present in the conversation and steer it in a positive direction? After all, your absence might give them a less favorable view of you or your business since your competitor might actually already be joining their conversation.
In conclusion, I want you to remember that online marketing comes down to two important aspects. You must listen and actively build a conversation around your product or organization in order to cultivate relationships with your existing or potential customers. Furthermore, you must be present to even join that conversation, because you’re not going to succeed in building a powerful online marketing campaign if you don’t first understand these essentials.
End PART 2
Photo courtesy of N. Calzas
PART 3: Authentic Communication