In the days of the wild west, towns had one general store, and the store owner knew everyone. People trusted him and knew what they were getting. Enter the industrial age, and efficiency trumped personalization. People didn’t mind where they bought from, as long as goods were cheap.
Now, that mentality has changed. Consumers are once again reverting to a need for personalization from businesses large and small. This need has been rekindled by the Internet and our ability to find anything we want coupled with a mistrust of advertising (think used cars salesmen).
We’ve reached a point where the consumer wants to know the product and that it can be trusted. Businesses must look beyond their want to grow, and instead focus on their core customers. Thanks to social media, we’re able to foster these relationships easily and quickly.
With social media it is incorrect to operate from a position of traditional corporate mind set or training. First, you define your audience and your goals and objectives. Then you develop talking points to convince that audience to complete the action that fulfills the goals or objectives. Then you measure, report, repeat.
Corporate messaging – talking points – are precisely why people have turned to online communities and social networks for information about products and services. Social media exists to provide trusted, third party information to consumers looking for something other than a sales pitch. The key to developing a social media strategy is not talking points, but parameters of conversation.
• What types of people do we want to talk to?
• Where do we find them?
• What are they talking about already?
• Is it appropriate for us to join that conversation and, if so, when?
• How do we inject usefulness into the conversation without being overly promotional?
• What value can we provide in terms of knowledge, opinion or content?
• How can we earn their trust?
• When we do earn their trust, how can we best ask for their input into our product or service?
• Under what circumstances can we point the conversation toward considering our product?
• Can we say or do something that invites someone else to point the conversation toward considering our product?