As of 2014, most large and many smaller businesses have employed a variety of social media tools including: Twitter accounts, Instagram profiles, Facebook fan pages, Pinterest boards and more. The list goes on and on. The question then becomes; what’s the point of social media and how do you add value to your customers and community?
1. Engage! Be social! Social media doesn’t exist solely for brands to talk about themselves – that’s the role of billboards, newspaper ads and other forms of “passive” advertising. Social Media offers an opportunity for a brand to show its personality! I follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to paleo based eating, and the same can apply to what you share on Social Media. 80% in quality content not about your brand (or yourself!) and up to 20% or so about yourself. Less is definitely more when it comes to self promotion on Social Media.
People are much more likely to spend hard earned dollars somewhere that they feel a part of. Chipotle, for example works hard to engage their customers. They seem to respond to nearly every mention, and as a result, as simple as it may be, I would rather spend my money at Chipotle than Qdoba or another fast-casual Mexican restaurant.
2. Shareable content: Create (branded) content that your community will want to share. This can be as basic as adding your logo to the bottom of an already existing image, recipe or list. Creating content that others will want to share is much better than constantly posting and hoping people will retweet your message. Pinterest offers another great opportunity for this – unlike twitter, where it’s more of a conversation, Pinterest’s main purpose is for people to share and re-share content.
3. Be a resource! This goes back to the 80/20 rule. If you’re posting content related to, but not directly about your brand (fitness related information for a nutrition brand for example), people are going to want to follow you – maybe even re-share your content!
Some feedback I received early on from a fellow Social Media Manager was that she enjoyed the content I was putting out and even if she didn’t use the product, she would continue to follow us on Twitter based on the type of content we put out. Who knows – someone like that could retweet/repost some of the content for someone new to see it, who could then become a customer in the future!
If you regularly publish great content, you’ll be recognized as a thought leader – people will recommend you to their friends based purely on your content. This is great for nutritionists/RD’s, personal trainers/coaches and others that engage with clients face to face. If you’re seen as a resource, people are going to be happy to refer their friends/community to you. This is even better for web-based product/service brands such as online run coaches or products that can be purchased from a website.
Bottom line: Social Media is most effective when you are actually being social rather than just trying to push product/services.
I’ve chosen my first marathon and am getting ready to register! My official training starts next week (early January), as it is a May 4th race. Last week I ran 18 miles, the most I’ve ever run. Last week was the first week I’ve done all 3 November Project workouts – a 7 mile #rundeckrun on Monday, a 40 minute Harvard Stadium Run on Wednesday, and then 5 miles of hills + 3 bonus miles with Brogan, one of the co-founders of November Project.
November Project is a morning fitness group that focuses on fun, free workouts to help you get out of bed and get moving at 6:30am. It has grown almost entirely as a result of Social Media and word of mouth. I heard about November Project initially from Andrew Ference, a former Boston Bruin (who has started a new “tribe” in Edmonton) and gave my first “verbal” after a Red Sox game with a group of new friends from One Run For Boston back in July. People give a “verbal” meaning they have promised someone that they’ll be showing up. What happens if you break a verbal? Check out the “We Missed You” page and see!
Hundreds of people show up to their workouts, regardless of the temperature/rain/snow/ice/lack of sleep. If you’re in Boston, Edmonton, Madison, San Francisco, San Diego, DC, Denver and now Indy, Baltimore or Philly, I encourage you to check them out. Each city has their own Twitter handle, and the main (hilariously entertaining) handle can be found @Nov_Project. You’ll meet some amazingly inspiring people – I promise.