I've been doing a lot of internal thinking lately. I've been diving deeply into why I think the way I do, where my ideas behind social marketing comes from and why I believe the way I believe. There are dozens of different theories on the use of social, and many different ways that work. Of course, I've had experience trying many different tactics but I always go back to two things:
- The creation of interpersonal relationships, and
- Community based social good.
Why is that though? I can tell you that I grew up poor, moving from place to place, state to state. It was hard making new friends for me because I was very introverted, I know what those of you that know me are thinking, "David? Introverted? No Way!" Yes way, I was and still am to a degree but because of that I spent a lot of time thinking and reading, all in my head. I don't know when my thoughts started to change but I started to open up, I pushed myself until I was uncomfortable and pushed some more. I started selling magic tricks in the mall, at first demonstrating them to large crowds wasn't easy but then it got easier as I started talking with people and building relationships with my audience.
From there I sold alarm systems door-to-door, at first it was tough getting past what to say first but as I learned how to build rapport, people started to open up and so did I! Then I started selling cars and found that I had a way of talking with people, I learned that I was able to make others feel comfortable and trust came easy for me. You see, I built my career on relationships, relationships are what opened my eyes and made me who I am. I've met a lot of amazing people, people who I consider mentors, people who have been there and I have learned from. People that I would have never met if I stayed introverted. To keep an old cliche alive I've turned into a social butterfly when all I used to be was an introverted caterpillar.
What about the social good? I'm a little hesitant to pull my skeletons out of the closet here, because I'm a private person, but it's important to share my story so you get the gist of why I think the way I do. During my 10th grade year, my family and I, spent the months of November through January in a homeless shelter, yes, we were homeless. During the holidays I remember running from the local news as they brought their video cameras around as a bunch of people brought in clothes and other gifts.
I specifically remember one older couple who came in and took every child to Target to pick out some Christmas gifts, about 20 in all. The boys went one way, the girls went the other. I asked why they were doing this and the man told me that their son had passed away 10 years prior and each year on Christmas they would put a little money away and that now it was time to give back. About half way through the store I remember another man walking up and asking George, the guy who we were with, who all the kids were, he looked back at us, as we followed him, and smiled, "They are my friends."
That day I promised myself that I would make a difference, that giving and helping others mattered. Don't get me wrong, I don't push social good because it's my agenda, but it is something that I'm passionate about. Remember when I said that there were dozens of difference theories behind social marketing and more than one worked? Well, community based social good is one of them. In fact here are some stats that support "my agenda:"
- When quality and price are equal, 53% of people say that social purpose ranks as the most important factor in selecting a brand.
- 72% of people said they would recommend a brand based off of their social purpose.
- 71% of people said they would promote a brand based off of their social purpose.
- 73% of people said they would switch brands based off of their social purpose.
So, my idea of being social is about building relationships around things that people are passionate about. Around things that make a difference, and if you spend time supporting the causes that your community is passionate about you will reap the rewards of increased word-of-mouth, referrals and customer loyalty. By the way, I'm not just talking about stroking a check, but really getting involved and using your money and influence to get others involved. Rally a community around supporting a cause that they are passionate about and watch the community become passionate about doing business with you.