Through the morass of marketing buzzwords and new technologies, navigating the field of social media marketing can seem difficult. Engage. Influence. Target. The tiring terms are so prevalent they even slip into my vocabulary.
But through it all, there is a simple concept that puts everything into a healthy perspective. It’s a concept that most people already know but often forget when muddled with the distractions of everyday marketing life:
Forget about “engaging.” Don’t stress about “influencing.” Nuts to “targeting.”
Consider yourself a new individual entering a cocktail party. You have your background and valuable thoughts to share, as does everyone else, and you want nothing more than to have meaningful conversations with the other members of the event. Do you look for who seems to be the most “influential” person and start spitting your ideas?
No, you introduce yourself politely to a few people, share stories and become better acquainted. A relationship is built through mutual respect with the potential of building trust if your ideas are relevant. You treat each other as friends and share value as if you were friends. The “engaging” and “influencing” comes naturally as a side-benefit, with a relationship built on caring. Because that’s what friends do for one another.
How do you become “friends” with your customers?
Follow the Oprah effect. Many of her fans don’t personally know her, but would probably be willing to follow her into the sea. Trust through respect: Give out value as you receive it, while focusing your efforts on positive industry change and not profits or the increase in marketing metrics. Treat your customers as if they were close: be honest, compassionate and human, and you will find reciprocation.
Friend-to-friend is a concept that refocuses everything that’s already been said ad nauseam in social media marketing, a more polite framework for reimagining how to “engage” and “influence” your “target” demographics.
But you already knew that.