Marketing with Social Media – Grow A Loyal Community by Increasing Your Worth

Posted on May 3rd 2012

Marketing with Social Media – Grow A Loyal Community by Increasing Your Worth

365 likes, 275 Tweets, 101 Shares, 39 comments. 

ImageMany businesses see their social media following as a list, a database or a host of numbers without any acknowledgement that there is a human being at the other end. This is so wrong! Marketing with Social Media, and actually “getting it” so it drives engagement and builds loyal raving fans who are proud to share your name with others is a different thing altogether.

Here are my 10 Guidelines for Marketing with Social Media to Grow Raving Fans, Increase Engagement and Results!

1. Be Personable

Every message delivered is to a person and that person has hopes, dreams, desires, problems, loves and hates just like you and me. When marketing with social media it pays to think of your list as people and not numbers. Every message is a personal communication between you and them. If your message makes people feel like you are talking exclusively to them it will cement the relationship.

2. Be a Conduit of the Like Minded

People primarily use the internet and social media because they are searching for information. If you do not provide the answer to the problem directly, then point the person in the direction of where it can be found.

The vast majority of people will always remember who got them to their destination and if you connect people with each other the value of your network grows.

3. Understand What Motivates.

You are using social media for business  because you want to build a large following that hangs on your every word. Right? And you are going to do this by shouting about how great you are, how great your business is and why you are the best things since sliced bread. Right?


Nobody cares about you, certainly not at the beginning anyway. The whole focus should be on exactly what your audience want and why they are following you. Is it because they think that you can give them great advice on building a business? If it is, then feed them exactly that.

If you don’t know who your audience are or what they want, then building a thriving, engaged community will never happen.

4. Be a Storyteller

Brands or individuals that have been successful in social media are those that are able to tell the best stories through digital means, in the most interesting ways.

Brands also use social media for building up a more complete history of themselves, accompanied by the right element of entertainment. One of the recent cases of how to make use of storytelling through social media and Facebook Timeline is a case by Fanta. This case shows great involvement of fans, increased engagement on the page as well as encouragement for fans to explore Fanta’s brand story through their Timeline.

The multimedia capabilities of social media (video, images, text) make it a great way to keep your audience engaged and entertained. Use them wisely and see your value rise!

5. Involve the Audience – Bring them to life!

Hollywood does a great job of making you feel like you are inside the movie, feeling every blow, dangling from every cliff, fighting every foe. That is how you should make your social media audience feel. Make it passionate, be emotive, get it so that just shouting at the computer screen is not an option! Make it so that instead of just reading, people actually have to be part of the conversation and add their own opinion to the story.

Nothing creates more trusting loyalty than active participatory opportunities.

6. Frying Pans Over the Head!

A post about marketing with social media has nothing to do with Frying pans over the head. It may have distracted you, stopped you in your tracks and made you do a double take on exactly what you are reading and why you are reading it.

Getting a frying pan over the head is all about relevancy. It is about Tom turning a corner and being hit in the face by Jerry with a Frying pan.

It is about telling a story, building a brand and then hitting the reader in the face with a sales offer and then continually bludgeoning them with it. The truth is all this will lead to is an inactive community, your reputation will be compromised and your wallet will be empty.

Forget frying pans; think relevancy. The relevant, useful and valuable content that you produce and share is the glue that holds the community together and this is the marketing not the sales offer.

7. Share the Best Content

Information overload is a term that is commonly used online. Be the person that your community can rely on to break down the deluge into digestible and newsworthy pieces.

Filter the relevant information online and share it with your audience. Share what is important to you and why you think it should be important. This will help build a strong connection with your audience and they will also grow to rely on you and see you as the person in the know when it comes to your niche area.

8. Social Proof Acts as a GPS.

A friend of yours who is known for turning up late everywhere because they get lost suddenly is one of the first to arrive. Why? Because she purchased a GPS system.

That GPS system must be absolutely amazing because it is helping one of the most useless people find their way. That is social proof because you now believe that the GPS works.

If someone asks you if you know of a good GPS system you might say “my friend Annie who was late all the time because she’s useless with directions, but she bought this GPS and now she never gets lost” What a recommendation! Do you think that person would buy it, or at least research that model? I think so!

Comments, participation & positive reviews sell! We subconsciously look for clues in the behaviours of those we identify with as to what we should do.

Let your community know what others just like them find valuable.  Complimenting yourself makes you an egomaniac, the compliments of others makes you celebrity-like.

9. Make What You Provide Actionable.

Making someone say “that’s great advice” is good. Making that person say “Wow, that is great advice and I know exactly how and where I can use it to get results” is much better. A person saying “I followed your advice and made 3 extra sales. Thank you” is Gold dust!

Create content that is memorable and makes that person remember you when they are not even on your site or social media community.

10. Don’t Fear the word Free!

The word Free usually throws business people into a panic. Don’t get all flustered. Embrace it, love it and your audience will do too.

I am not talking about giving everything away, but what I am saying is give some of your best stuff away. Some, not all!

The more great actionable content that you have available to your community, the greater the chances you have of people talking about it, sharing it and loving it. Don’t hide your best material, get it out there, get it loved!

Quid Pro Quo is great but not everybody is going to give you something in return. Just think what it feels like when you get something for nothing and how that makes you feel. Wouldn’t you like your social media audience to feel like that?

And what about those people that do give you something in return. What about those people that point to your site and mention you and say how great you are? How they follow you because you give such great advice, how by following your advice they have seen results.

They will say it with pride, they will speak with passion, they will become evangelists for your brand.

Collecting friends, followers, and fans and then giving them the frying pan treatment does not and will not work. The whole ethos of marketing with social media is that it is SOCIAL, be an asset to people, be a trusted resource, be invaluable through the highly actionable content that you create and people will soon start pointing at you and directing their network to you and your influence and network will grow and grow.

Building relationships truly needs to be the focus when marketing with social media. Once you get that, it may take some time, persistence and hard work but those relationships will lead to raving fans and they will lead to more business then you can imagine.



Image: Sergei Bachlakov /Shutterstock

James Debono

James Debono

MD, Big Thinking Online

James Debono is co-founder of Big Thinking Online, the leading online marketing agency, which helps businesses globally switch on their local marketplace. You can find out more about James at his self titled blog, which is designed to give entrepreneurs and small business owners practical advice on how to leverage the ever growing potential of the internet to drive business growth and positive change.

See Full Profile >


Posted on May 4th 2012 at 7:13PM

I wonder if you associate your Klout score with your social media "worth," in light of the recent Wired article (May 2012)?

James Debono
Posted on May 7th 2012 at 6:23PM

Hi Greg,

The Wired article rasies some great points, however each and every person or business who uses social media does so with a unique set of goals and objectives.

These objectives  may not align with how Klout measures your perceived social media influence.


Hyun Daniel Kim
Posted on May 5th 2012 at 2:01AM

I agree with James in many ways. And, to add one more comment, in my humble opinion, the most important thing is "Doing the actual social media work". 

You have to post news, comment, interact and engage people on daily basis. This requires great committment, and those that do have a large ROI. Initial start is always hard for social media because most think it is not possible.

But it can be done.  

"You must do the things you think you cannot do" -  Elanor Roosevelt.   

James Debono
Posted on May 7th 2012 at 5:58PM

Hi Hyun Daniel,

You are right.

Many people adopt social media thinking that they will develop brand advocates overnight. That is simply not the case.

To develop a community on Social Media you need to make an investment of time to keep your community interested and engaged with your brand.