It seems like social media is becoming more like an ocean and less like a stream every day. Where are my fans? How can I reach them? What channels should I be on? What should I be posting? How do I get my content seen in the Facebook newsfeed?
The name of the game today is learning how to build loyal fans. For growth that matters, we have to deliver content that matters to our fans. In order to differentiate ourselves and be seen, we need to know what our audience values. As Jay Baer says, it's all about help, not hype.
In her book, Renegades Write The Rules, Amy Jo Martin lays down the Golden Rule of social media:
Deliver value when, where, and how your audience wants to receive it.
Martin built her agency, Digital Royalty, after a stint as social media director for the Phoenix Suns. Her clients are a who's who of the sports world. In her book, she talks about eight royal rules that social media "renegades" follow for success. Each rule has a corresponding allergy that holds us back. I recommend reading the book to get the full picture. Here they are in a nutshell:
1. Be the Media. Martin reminds us that we are the only ones that can tell our story and deliver value at the same time. And social media puts us in the driver's seat.
2. Shown some skin.You don't have to be afraid of being human on social media. Remember, you have control over what you share-it doesn't have to be everything. Humans connect with humans, not logos.
3. Unmask Your Motives. Risks are necessary to make a splash. The goal is not to sell what you have, the goal is to connect with people who believe what you believe. Share your intent (why you do what you do).
4. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Finding out what your audience wants requires a couple things: audience research and getting out of your comfort zone. We all like to talk about what we're familiar with. But what does your audience value?
5. Ask for forgiveness rather than asking for permission (but make sure you take your results along when asking for forgiveness). Take risks and fail early so your best practice experience begins when others are just coming on board and learning to fail. Know how to succeed when everyone else is just figuring it out.
6. Consensus is the true authority. Listen louder-find out what your audience is saying and alter your message to their needs. Martin advocates a constant cycle of measure -> listen -> activate -> listen. The social media space is alive, it moves in real-time. Keep up.
7. There's a new ROI in town. Impressions don't always convert, but influence does. Martin's agency developed the well-known "return on influence" formula that marketers use to develop loyalty as opposed to just developing reach. Reach is where it starts, but brands who want to build a core of loyal fans will move beyond reach.
8. The act of good can be scaled. Social media is linked to good because it provides a place for accountability and transparency. Social media channels are open networks with low barriers where anyone can participate. Reputation and social responsibility are assets that can be built with social media.
I recommend picking up a copy of Martin's book. It is absolutely loaded with case studies--stuff you can copy. They are the stories of lessons she learned with clients like Shaq, The Rock, and many more. I guarantee you'll be inspired to be a renegade.