Social Drums

Mission graffiti – SF 2013

You don’t have to be a guru to make a lot of noise – did you know that? A two year old can make a ton of noise and get lots of attention just by banging on a pot with a wooden spoon.  Ask anyone who’s spent any time around a child.

So ask yourself a question, right now – and be honest. Have I been banging on a proverbial pot? Is social media my wooden spoon?

Many businesses approach their social media marketing efforts in the same way that two year old bangs on the pot, and then puzzle over their lack of response.  After all, they’re posting, they’re making lots of noise… surely that means someone will notice.

No one does, though, and here’s why: social relevance.

One of the most important components of marketing through social media is social relevance.  Your posts need to contribute something to your followers, whether that’s with an inspirational message, new information about your project or an interesting discussion.  You have to be relevant (to them) and engaging (to them).  You need to say something that matters about your brand (to them), say it clearly and say it consistently.

You need to beat your drum to their rhythm.

Becoming Relevant to Your Followers

Beating a drum is much different than a pot. People “march to the beat of the drum”. They follow the drummer, because they’re in tune with the drummer. The drummer is relevant to their purpose.

By and large, relevance is in the eye of the beholder – so keep your beholders in mind when you’re trying to increase social relevance.  This is a good time to take stock of your social media demographic.

Are your followers younger or older?  Are they primarily men or women, or a healthy mix of both sexes?  Identifying your audience is the first step to improving your social relevance.  After all, if you don’t know who’s marching, how can you know what beat to drum?

Mission graffiti - SF, 2013

Mission graffiti – SF, 2013

Once you know your demographic, don’t just make noise at them.  Engage them – tell them a story about your product, show them how it will help them in their lives, provide free advice and keep the message simple.

Social media is dynamic, and if you add value to your messages, your social media presence will be dynamic, too.  Your followers will cross-post those things they find interesting, informative or wish to discuss further with their friends.

Why Social Media Must be Relevant

Social media is unlike any other platform you use for advertising.  Not only can you update your marketing on the fly, you have a unique opportunity to directly interact with your customer base.  You’d better be listening to their beat – after all, nothing you can do will advocate better for your brand than addressing customers directly.

Customers that view you and your brand as experts in your field may ask for advice or new ways to use your product.  Seize the opportunity to demonstrate your competence. When social media marketing is relevant, it generates a special kind of magic that customers find irresistible.

They interact with one another, sharing stories or discussing how they use your product – they also turn into brand advocates without even being asked.  Provide them plenty of opportunities to think about and interact with your brand, be it through polls, informal surveys or giveaways.  Your customers want to interact with you!

Mission graffiti - SF 2013

Mission graffiti – SF 2013

Pitfalls of Social Media

A word of caution about social relevance before you proceed boldly is warranted: social relevance and social responsibility are two very different concepts.  Don’t get them confused – this all too easy mistake can spell trouble for your brand.

Social relevance means you’re giving valuable information about your brand to your customer base and building a community – social responsibility extends into realms of politicking and advocating that don’t belong in the framework.

Most companies are socially responsible in some way, but this doesn’t mean that you have to advertise your potentially controversial positions to the general public.  Your customers want to believe that you stand for the same things they do; if you become annoyingly political they will flee.  Keep your social media posts focused on the brand and stay away from advocating strong opinions – an increase in your social relevance will follow.