With the social media marketing world expanding at virtual light speed, it may seem intimidating for newcomers and small business professionals to make their mark amongst the 350 million Facebookers, 75 million Tweeters and 50 million LinkedIn folks. But there is hope! With a simple strategy, social media hopefuls can certainly engage their audience.
Engage is a key word cited in many how-to’s on social media marketing. Amongst the masses, how does one engage his or her audience? According to a new book by Jennifer Aaker and Aaron Smith, The Dragonfly Effect, there are four main ingredients. Authors Aaker and Smith encourage aspiring social media marketers to first tell a story. Being candid about how and why you started your business, charity or organization and why it’s important to you can have a powerful connection with your audience. You are not just another brand trying to sell people something or raise money, but a real person on a journey toward an important goal.
Another key to engaging is empathizing with your audience. Using photos and videos to connect people with your story in addition to testimonials of other consumers like them using your products or services allows your target audience to visualize themselves participating in your brand or service. Many large and small companies also post questions asking about personal opinion or experience to the main wall or feed in various social media sites to get their audience members thinking and creating buzz by commenting back and forth. All of this activity draws attention to the business while allowing a forum for audience members to be heard.
One of the most important factors of connecting with a social media audience is authenticity. According to Aaker and Smith, “True passion is contagious, and the more authenticity you convey, the more easily others can connect with you and your cause.” It is essential to be professional, but speak in your own voice. Overdoing the marketing lingo or faking trendy language will fail to impress audiences who want to connect with a real person.
Once an audience has been established and engaged, it is vital to match the media with the message. If you are selling a service or product related to travel: post videos, reviews in the latest Condé Nast, comments about new movies set in exotic vacation locales or links to travel deals so your audience has access to the full experience surrounding what you provide, and its based in the type of media they typically consume. This makes a connection between what you are offering and what they already enjoy.
www.facebook.com/360Innovate – Social Media Marketing Statistics 2011
Singer, D. Feb 2011 The Power of Storytelling: What Non-Profits can teach the Private Sector about Social Media. McKinsey Quarterly.