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eBegging—does your brand reek of desperation?

Do you keep asking your customers to Like or Follow you without giving them a reason to engage with you?  Do you know what that looks like to them?

Don’t get hung up on the numbers

How many followers do we have on Twitter?  How many fans on Facebook?  We need more fans—increase that number!  Go! Go! Go! 

Gah! Don’t be motivated by scalp count.  What’s the value of a Facebook Like if you have to ask, beg or bribe to get it?  This will build you a following of semi-interested individuals that don’t want to be bothered by you.  Is this a fundamental principle of your Social strategy?   Please no.   Don’t be that brand.

Even in the off-chance that you do convince them to Like or follow you, it doesn’t mean they’re going to read (or even see) any of your posts aside from the one that bought them.  That person just becomes a number on your wall.  Some of you may use these numbers as metrics to support the ROI of social to your company.  However, if I’m not reading your posts or engaging with you, should I be included in that ROI assessment?  I’m never going to buy—I’m just here lurking for free stuff.  You’re fudging your numbers to the C-Suite mister.

“Some studies show that a whopping 90% of Facebook users don’t return to a fan page once they click the Like button.”  – Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner

Do the work for the Like or Follow

Social media is the law of attraction versus interruption.  You attract others through your credibility, your honesty, your direct engagement, and your humanity. You demonstrate and bring value to the relationship.  Makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?  OR you can continue to nag, interrupt and slam anyone who will listen with your advertising song and dance jazz-hands.

It all comes back to one simple principle.  The content you publish will attract the audience you are trying to reach.   It’s good content for the good of the people.  Offer solutions to questions and problems without openly pitching your business.  Show your expertise with relevant content.  Allow those already following to share in their communities—sending real interest back to your page.  Consumers are more likely to take notice of what you are doing this way.  Show them the credibility, honesty, humanity and direct engagement you have with others.  Be a giver and the fruits of your efforts will come back tenfold.

As with traditional marketing, exposure increases familiarity which in turn increases recognition with your brand or company.  You have just increased your chances of becoming top-of-mind when it comes time to make a purchase from a brand within your industry.

It’s time to stop begging for Likes and start delivering content that makes them want to Like you.   Then, and only then, have you earned the right to ask for anything.

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Filed under Social Media, social strategist, social writer

the content whisperer

Magazines were the original social networks. They filled a void for otherwise isolated individuals and the content transported them outside their community.   Brands promoted their products through this early network with static advertising placement that shouted “LOOK AT ME.  BUY ME.  LOVE ME.”

Early television formats featured someone standing motionless at a microphone telling stories.  Much like the technology evolution from radio to television, this print to digital content evolution has left folks standing around delivering static content in a dynamic environment.  Technology changes faster than corporate mindset.

Thankfully, the gap is starting to close and we’re seeing Brands and marketers leading with diversity in content innovation.

Social networks are about sharing.  It’s important to understand the distinction between sharing, and being shared with.  Value, not persuasion, is the core of the social sharing ecosystem.  Content must be dynamic not static—put the microphone down and put on your dancing shoes.

As a brand, providing value in content is about storytelling.  Storytelling is a long-standing tradition at the heart of all families, communities and cultures.  Effective and dynamic story-telling develops deeper, emotional connections that allow readers to be a big part of the experience.

So, how do you tell an effective story?

Imagine your brand as a big book of stories.  Each story must have your brands corporate message baked in (not obvious posturing), it must be relevant, timely, provide value, allow for consumer interaction, and be engaging.  You want your audience to turn the page and read the next story, don’t you?

With that in mind, let’s use Coca-Cola’s 70/20/10 content rule.  70% of your stories should be the low-risk, solid useful content your audience expects—appealing to all audiences.  20% of your stories should be higher-risk, solid useful content that is directed to specific segments of your audience—your loyal consumers.  The last 10% of your stories are where you can set your hair on fire.  It’s the content that reaches out to the edges, or comes at your idea in an entirely new way. Your audience might not be there yet or they might be right there with you.  It’s the crazy, never-been-done-before-and-might-fail ideas.  This is high-risk, but it has the potential to achieve the highest share rate and is also where your future 70-20% will come from.

Ultimately, content innovation is driven by the combination of old ideas and new configurations.  Readers don’t want to be told information in a static one-way drop.  They want to have a conversation about the information, be swept away into the information, they want to be affected and share that information within their own social circles.

Brand stories should be a distribution of creativity with a content excellence that would make a ruthless editor weep tears of joy.  You want to be dramatically different—not just noise in the digital airwaves.  But how many different ways can you do it?  The possibilities are endless!

A good example of a Brand leading their story through innovation is the grocery retail chain, Longo’s.   They are telling you their brand story—quite literally.   They are exercising their 10% and pioneering into new content configuration frontiers.  They are bringing journalistic blogging together with traditional publishing techniques for a compelling story that is fun, engaging, and worth the attention of their audience.

And hey, it can even be plopped into my e-reader with RSS.

This is an idea of brand storytelling through actual storytelling.  Check out Longo’s creative non-fiction brand story here.

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Filed under creative non-fiction, Social Media, social strategist, social writer