Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Making your social media work for you is like talking to your dog

Social media strategy: Keep it simple. Make it important. Get their attention. Look them in the eye. Speak clearly. Say it again. Snacks and pats are optional, but encouraged.

social media strategy is like talking to your dogAn old dog with new tricks

The foundations of social media are simple. They’re built on thousands of years of communication and networking. Share like a person, have a discussion about topics you both care about. Inspire or coach. Be a friend. Think of social media as the new chat-over-the-back-fence, or today’s “let’s meet for coffee.” Consider these basics when you’re building a social media strategy.

Provide value, be sincere, be concise and be relevant.

There’s truth to these phrases. Yet on their own they’re not likely to inspire a bumper crop of earth-shattering, viral posts. If you’re offering too many text-heavy, boring posts, they become white noise for the eyes. All of those well-intended messages will fall by the wayside.

An old classic Gary Larson cartoon

What makes a blog post, a Facebook update, a Tweet or any other social media missive really take hold and grab the reader?

A successful post is one that actually makes your reader pause for a nanosecond, think about the post, and then do something.

By the way, clicking “like” isn’t exactly an action. It’s more of a nod or check mark on the list-of-things-I’d-really-get-into-if-I-had-time. Or a wave as they breeze by.

A “like” is a start but it’s not a conversation.

Run with the pack, but be the alpha dog.

Think about a successful business meeting, one that results in “the big deal.” If you passed that room several times there would be moments of deep concentration, probably a bit of grandstanding. If you snuck back near the end you might hear laughter and see handshaking. The room would be full of chatter about the local college team, the biggest fish caught or a friendly golf course rivalry.

Those friendly conversations about shared activities, favorite pastimes or places to visit are the essence of a social and business relationship. People are relating on a persona level because they’re comfortable with the business relationship.

Business is about relationships and connections, just like social media. But unlike your dog who offers unconditional love, people seeing your posts are still evaluating and judging you. Be sure you’re true to your message, your brand persona, and your story. Don’t offend or alienate.

Throw ’em a bone.

For your social media to resonate with your intended audience you must embrace your role as a publisher, brush off your thesaurus (to find just the right word in a character-limited post) and create a conversation. Invite them to care enough about what you’re saying to respond. Show them how and why. Be a resource, cheerleader and friend.

Don’t sell. Don’t tell. Invite. Include. Inform. Step into the room, be in the mix, listen and learn. It’s called social media not technology media.

Respond. The pat on the head can get the tail wagging. Once you’ve opened the door to conversation, share your thoughts, build on the comments.

Think of it as old media learning new tricks.
Come. Sit. Stay. Throw the ball.

One last bit of advice, toss a bright toy in the air. Use pictures. Show people your story–a before and after, your staff, your office, the latest project. Or just create memes with quotes you like. Studies have shown that posts that include pictures are 5 times more likely to be shared. You want that four-legged, tail-wagging friend to bring the ball back to someone else!

Social media gets plenty of buzz. Stats keep changing, new channels emerge. Yet it’s not the final answer for marketing. It’s an add on tactic, not an instead of marketing strategy. We’ve posted a few other perspectives, check out the links below before you define your social media strategy.

Share your comments and insights below. We would love to hear from you! And … we offer our Brand Responsibly Manifesto for your posting delight. Use the link below.

About the author

Creative Company

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

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