That statement can and has been countered by business owners with the question: What's the point of being on social media if not to promote my products/services or myself? A recent article in AdAgeDigital stated, "As it turns out, many people in social networks don't want to talk about your product, they just want to talk."
Social media is about developing a personal relationship with your clients and understanding how strategically developing that relationship through apparently random posts and tweets leads to your social media followers learning about, knowing and trusting your company's brand and character. People buy things from people they like, know and trust.
Minnesota company Caribou Coffee does a nice job of intermingling information about their products with trivia questions and fun facts that keep their 200k+ fans engaged and active. On Memorial Day, they asked their Facebook community to post thank-you messages for military veterans and service-members. When they referred to all military personnel as "soldiers" in their Facebook post, one person took offense and let them know in a post on their wall that "soldiers" were applicable only to the Army. Far from being a devastating blow to their brand, over 100 of Caribou's fans responded to the offended person that it was obvious Caribou had no intention of offending anyone, and expressing appreciation for Caribou reaching out and supporting the military. This resulted in an increase in new "Likes" to their page, and a strong commitment to Caribou's products as a result.
Try these pointers to help you increase your business social media relevance and engagement:
- Be strategic without talking about your product all the time. Find something that is bigger than, yet relevant to, your product, and talk about that.
- Be conversational - don't make a sales pitch. Respond to the people you connect with on social media sites
- Be authentic and true to your brand's key messages. Be yourself!
Brian Wallace, VP-global digital at BlackBerry parent Research In Motion says "A Facebook fan has no value. Getting a Facebook fan to do something does." By using social media strategically, and engaging with your online community, you'll be able to forge a strong bond, and reach your customers and potential customers where and when they want to be reached.