The Secret to Social (Media) Success

The digital marketing industry has been overrun in recent years with self-proclaimed social media “experts” that promise to give you the secret to being successful in social media marketing, for a price.  Well, I’m going to join them – I’ll tell you the secret, but it won’t cost you a dime.

Secret

Are you ready?

Are you SURE you’re ready?

Here we go….

Be real.

That’s  it.  All that build up, all the noise surrounding the “big secret” to succeeding comes down to those two little words.  Just be real.

The truth is, no matter what social platform you want to engage on, the thing that’s going to attract quality, loyal fans/subscribers/readers/buyers, keep them coming back, and turn them into evangelizers of your brand, is authenticity.

The traditional, detached form of advertising communications just doesn’t fly anymore.  The public is over it.  They don’t want to be talked at, they want to be talked with.  And they want to know that they are talking to a real person, one who has a personality and (gasp) opinions.  It builds a healthy relationship, and fosters trust and loyalty with your audience.

When we take off our professional hats, we are all consumers.  We all buy products and services, and we’ve all spent hours listening to “Unchained Melody”, waiting for customer service to pick up the phone.  We have talked to the weary operator with no authority that eventually answers, who reads from a script to tell you how much they appreciate your business, but can’t do anything to help you.  Social media marketing can change the user experience for the better by giving you the opportunity to have someone with authority actually reach out and communicate directly with your audience.

Social platforms give you a chance to interact with the people who are talking about you (and they are talking – even if you aren’t part of the conversation), to change negative opinions, to address specific issues out in the open, and to form (or further) a positive brand image.

The concept of “be real” is simple – the execution, not so much.

Not every company can do this on their own.  Imagine that you were put in a big building with everyone you know, everyone they know, your partners, your competitors, everyone who had ever heard of your brand, and a whole bunch of people that hadn’t.  Then imagine that every single one of these people started talking at once.  How do you manage that situation?  How do you find out who’s talking about you, who’s talking about things related to you, who’s saying nice things about you, and who’s saying bad things about you?  You couldn’t do it all on your own.  You’d need help – a team of runners to go around and listen for you, to report back on exactly who is around, and what they’re saying.  That’s where a smart agency comes in – they do that running for you.

A great agency (like Fluency) will organize the noise into useful information, and advise you on what issues you need to address, when you need to address them.  They will help you understand the different platforms to choose from, and help leverage your content across as many of those platforms and your other marketing channels as possible.  They will become guardians of your brand, and will work to protect and enhance your reputation.

Being a social media success is no different than being a social success in your personal life.  Just remember what your parents taught you – listen, be polite, engage, and most of all, be yourself.

So the next time some social media guru comes knocking, telling you that if you just part with a little cash, they’ll tell you the secret to succeeding in this complicated world of social media, you can tell them you already know – and it didn’t cost you a thing.