The Human Factor

Social Media Strategy - The Human Factor

Do you get surprised or even excited when you phone a company and a REAL person answers the phone? It seems ridiculous that we’ve come to this point of total disconnection, while our basic human need is to connect and relate to each other. Want a competitive advantage? Here it is:

What marketers often get wrong.

Go to almost any brand’s twitter account and you’ll see exactly what most marketers get wrong. There is little more then business updates. No conversation, no relationship building, no questions being asked or answered. Just another “blast post”, a sad remnant of traditional one-way thinking.

You’ll often find another fail… a personification of the brand as this larger-then-life entity. This big… thing that has no personality, that is comprised of some alien materials… spitting out offers and LOOK AT ME!!!! self-promotional materials. Who cares? Stop it.

Here’s an easy test. Log out of your own twitter / facebook / blog / whatever account, open a new browser window and go back. Read it the same way a new visitor would. How does what you see or read come across? Can you REALLY relate to what you’ve read in any way?  If not… time to go back to the drawing table and rethink some things… such as:

Why are we even here.

Some businesses often forget why they’re even online. It’s as if a radio salesperson came in the door and you decided to run an ad campaign which was completely independent of everything else in your marketing mix. Pulling in it’s own direction. It’s time to reign those loose ends back in.

“Our competition is on Facebook / Twitter / Foursquare / etc…” is NOT a good enough reason for you to jump on as well. Each channel needs to have a clear reason why it exists and what purpose it serves. A good question to ask right after “We need to be on Facebook” is WHY? If there is no clear connection back to your business objectives… it’s a waste of time and money.

Clarifying the purpose of any specific channel helps define strategic objectives, measurements and tactics you may use (eg: what you should actually post or tweet, in what tone). Are you there to educate, reach new audiences, spread your ideas, provide customer service or something else entirely…? Each one of these will sound, read & feel differently. Furthermore, you would track different points to measure success. For example: RTs or Likes for spreading ideas, Views and impressions for education, number of followers or likes for reach…

Think about it. Ask WHY.

People first. Brand later.

I recently came across an interesting Twitter account by accident. Someone had mentioned Arlene Dickinson’s new book “Persuasion” to which I replied saying I’d pick it up in the afternoon. Not even 10 minutes later, there was a tweet from Harper Collins, the publisher, saying how they believe it will be a great read.

That, in and of itself, is not anything groundbreaking. However, my interest was peaked since I am planning to publish soon. I thought, how great would it be to connect with someone at a well respected publishing house.

Clicking over to their Twitter account was a pleasant experience. Most companies would have some hacked together selling proposition and a website in their bio, however Harper Collins has a simple bio with a listing of employees manning their social media presence. Immediately, it was easier to relate and converse. Because I was not speaking with a shapeless corporation, I was in fact speaking with either @corybeatty or @shanparsons. Real people! How innovative and wonderful.

As much as we as marketers like to think that audiences have some sort of an emotional connection with a brand… you must remember that a brand is composed of people behind it. This is even more important in social media marketing. It’s hard to have a conversation with a Ford… yet it’s much easier and more natural while knowing that  Scott Monty or Craig Daitch is behind the keyboard on the other end.

What is the lesson here? Listen, converse and be human. That’s all. It’s not crazy social media voodoo guru ninja BS… just personal relationships and common sense…

See  you next time,

Ernest // @ebarbaric
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Ernest Barbaric is a professional keynote speaker and social media consultant. He helps clients engage customers, reach new markets, launch products and transition into digital marketing. Sounds interesting? Get in touch today.

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