The golden rule of social media

29/Jul/2014 · 2 MINS READ

In the past few years of managing social media pages, I think the most frequently asked question I get (besides how can we get more likes) is “how can this make us money?”

As I’m getting paid to manage a business’ social media, I value and appreciate this issue. I want to see you do well, and I’d like for you to continue to pay me. However, if your number one purpose for being on social media is to make an immediate, consistent and enormous return of investment, I would gently suggest that maybe social media isn’t the best strategy for you and your brand.

If you can grasp this concept, then everything else related to social media is easy as making toast! Are you ready?  Social Media is social.  It is a place people go to interact with other people.  I don’t care if you’re on Ralvery for knitting fans or Stachepassions for singles who love mustaches, the reason these social media sites exist, no matter how niche they are is because the one thing people love as much as crocheting and facial hair is finding other people out there with have similar interests.

There is power in potential connections. Social media is based on the underlying principle that humans want to know that they are not alone.

So, if you want to build your audience, create more awareness, receive feedback and increase click-through rates from your customers, then you need to start by throwing all of your marketing jargon into cyberspace and accepting that when any of your potential customers log into their social media, they are not looking to spend money – they are looking to connect and be validated. They want a warm welcome community of people who love them, a place where they can return the favour.

When I think of potential customers in this way, I know why loud advertising – especially the kind that says you aren’t acceptable (lose weight, get a sexy car, change your wardrobe, have a baby) – is not welcome.

One marketing phrase that is relevant in all this is “turning owned media into earned media”. If you can come to your audience with open (virtual) arms and ask what you can do for them, they will be grateful. They will give you a response (engage), they will welcome you into their life, and once you have established a good rapport, they’ll understand and maybe even be interested when occasionally you ask them to claim an offer or visit their website. But never try to take advantage of them.

As you build your friends and followers, you will build trust and awareness. This might not immediately up your profits or satisfy your shareholders, but what it can do is something that no marketing strategist has ever been to accomplish with a nice TVC or a billboard campaign. You will receive word- of-mouth endorsements by your content being shared by your fans, engaging new potential customers. This trust and power is something that can’t be bought.

It’s the golden rule of social media. Treat your customers online the way you treat anyone you’d like to be friends with. The benefits will come, and you will “like” it.