Part One asked “What would the community be missing if our brand didn’t join the conversation?
Part Two features the community’s point of view.
Online, give social conversation forward:
You share a bit … A friend shares another … Mutual friends pick up the story and… Community happens … so forth and so on!
How can your brand transition to the vernacular? Being social online is simpler than you think — and not.
Let’s shadow the generic online community for commonly known weak welcomes to traditional methods. The size and loyalty of your following will reflect your brand’s social abilities! Every word counts — both the intention and the expression.
1. “We’ll pass on the carrots.”
Are you walking, talking, and attracting a following?
What is your intention?
Accountable ends may certainly be your goal. However, since the earliest days of Web 1.0, promoting has been looked on suspiciously by the at-large online community.
Pay close attention to the value of attraction. It builds the priceless brand commodity of loyalty — FIRST! Your loyal following leads the process (if you’ve planned for it carefully, and make adjustments in real time). That’s the paradigm shift. After 1.5 centuries of training in traditional advertising, consumers know to look and click past the carrot.
For the community, “It’s all about us.”
2. “It’s everyone’s fruit tree.”
Say what you mean and be sure it’s meaningful.
The web world is seriously tribal, visual, and literate. It’s also global. We share openly in the same virtual space — quid pro quo. That makes it everybody’s fruit tree. It’s about peer-to-peer respect.
We all have a stake in the story.
Offer the simplest things with full integrity. People will respond. Sellers, beware: This isn’t a consumer market shopping for low-hanging fruit.
Give more than you’ll get back — whether that’s amusement, advice, information or support. And make sure it’s quality. If you’re telling (i.e., sharing) with mutual respect, your followers are likely to become your best promoters and influencers. That’s priceless brand awareness and public aggregation.
The online community is quick to remind you, “We all have a stake in the story.”
Are you engaging in conversation that is satisfying — complete unto itself? Or are you pitching a means to an end with a 20th C. hook or door opener?
This can be a hard one for traditional marketers. Rephrase content from the community’s point of view. Social media represents the conversation you’d have with friends while the Superbowl ads are running and you’re grabbing some new nachos. Think of it as “pause” marketing.
Humanize your brand! Save the features and benefits chart for a special website landing page or a tri-fold direct mail brochure. Do that SWOT analysis. Just trade in the militaristic approach for a ladies-who-lunch style.
Who controls the outcome?
Ask yourself, “What would the community be missing if I didn’t participate in this conversation?”
Followers will respond to the right conversation with a hearty “Welcome!”
4. “Excuse me, is that your banana peel?”
Pulling ensures that no one is left behind.
Whatever you call it, a push looks and sounds 10x pushier online than face to face. What’s the risk?
Who's leading the conversation?
Look for the word “I” in your strategy or content. Intentionally or not, you’re pushing. Once you cross this line, it’s hard for brands to find the way back. Your audience is just a click away from buzzing you down on other social sites.
Pulling opens up a dialogue that is mutually and exponentially rewarding. That makes your brand’s following more likely to listen to any value proposition or business goal that’s written somewhere in your business plan. Seek help, feedback or information — do it open-ended. Your brand following is likely to do the same, seeking no immediate reward. That’s positive word-of-mouth.
Loyalty is the bedrock of social branding. Buzz yields promoters — good and bad. The intention and opportunity are yours.