Friday, July 27, 2012

Six Degrees of Social Media Separation

Take a look at the results of this survey Performics released yesterday.

1. Social media compels brands to act less like an advertiser and more like a friend. This means that brands need to present themselves not as someone who’s trying to sell you something, but as someone who genuinely understands you, and only then offers a solution for your concerns or interests—i.e., products and services. In other words, brands need to dispense with the promotional lingo and humanize themselves. As a result, when a post from, say, Dell appears in my news feed, my focus will be on the content, not its origin.

2. The big brands—the Coca Colas and the Lady Gagas and the NFLs—understand this milieu. Their social media team lives on Facebook and Twitter—not just for fun, but for a living. These guys spend their days crafting content that’s optimized by data and experience to be enticing. By contrast, when you and I post something, we just throw it up, sans strategy or schedule. To oversimplify: in our personal lives, we publish what we want to, whenever the mood strikes. In our professional lives, we publish what we need to, when the mood of our audience strikes.

3. Too many brands still focus on quantity rather than quality; that is, they prioritize the number of their followers rather than their level of engagement. But I’d rather enjoy 1,000 followers who comment on and share my posts than 10,000 followers who scroll past them. In this view, the ever-present need to grow the size of your audience is myopic. Indeed, if the largest segment of your audience consists of people who already are buying, I’d work to grow their purchases, instead of trying to drum up—and convert—new customers.

Addendum (7/28/2012): Success!

Addendum (8/15/2012): In my second point, I assert that big brands grapple with a range of considerations when posting to their social media channels. Here's a glimpse of the decision-making process at McDonalds:

"Before any of these pictures go live, McDonald’s assures that it stays true to its brand voice. The company has a review process, which includes creative and legal, for all pictures, Wion says. . . .

"PR and marketing professionals and social media managers grapple with questions about whether a post should be funny or serious, inspiring or thought provoking. . . .

"For example, McDonald's announced the return of its popular Shamrock Shake via social media. But it opted for a more straightforward tone, as opposed to a humorous one. The company took pictures of two Shamrock Shakes, stylized it through Instagram, and then tweeted the image with the message: 'We are proud to announce that for the first time ever the Shamrock Shake will be available nationally.'