By definition, marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services. But many in executive management positions at small- to medium-sized companies find it difficult to grasp the concept that engaging in social media isn’t about pushing your product or service.
Traditional marketing as we once knew it revolved around a specific activity – say a direct mailer, television advertisement, pay-per-click ad or print piece – that explained what your product was, where to find it and how it was going to improve your life. Then, using mathematical equations, marketing directors would track if the activity generated a positive ROI (Return on Investment) or if the strategy was wrong and another marketing tasks needed to be implemented.
Social Media, on the other hand, is about connecting and sharing, not necessarily selling. In some ways, social media is really more akin to branding than marketing. Marketing genius Seth Godin defines a brand as “A set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” If you think about social media for corporate use, it’s about making your product or service memorable. You want your product or service to become the talk of the town.
Let’s look at an excellent example of using social media to create a memory that is hard to forget.
I give to you: Moore Liquor. This small liquor store located in Moore, Oklahoma has decided to use social media for two unique purposes that do not in any way relate to trying to sell a bottle of Johnny Walker. Their first Facebook page (found here) is dedicated to making us laugh. About once a week, they post a new message on the marquee in front of the store to give patrons a good laugh and also post it on their Facebook page. A recent photo says “If you value fame more than your freedom, shoplift here.” posted on the marquee. This message itself might not seem hilarious, until you check out their other Facebook page (found here) and learn that recently thefts were becoming a big problem, so they began posting images (via their surveillance cameras) of people stealing alcohol from the store. The pictures are posted and there is a reward offered for anyone who is willing to message the store with the name (or names) of the individuals in the photos.
Their Facebook pages are so popular, with over 6,200 on one page and almost 2,700 on the other, that they have more likes than the popular Original Hideaway Pizza location that has been a campus favorite in Stillwater Oklahoma for more than 50 years.
Social media is about engagement and building a network of people who like similar things. If all you do is talk about the products you are selling- you’re doing it wrong and your social media success will be marginal at best. Determine what your target audience likes (and doesn’t like) and work that into your social media strategy. Make it fun. Make it interesting. But mostly, don’t make it all about you.