Let’s think about why people are so into social networking sites, or to ask a better question why are people into social activities at all? They’re doing two things. They are expanding the group of people they know, and they are…drumroll please… having fun! No one wants to go to an event to be bored. They can do that at home. They go somewhere to have fun. Social networking sites are no different.
Even Linkedin, the so-called Professional networking site, is recognizing the need for more entertainment value with its features. They’re now allowing blog and Twitter feeds to connect your other social media profiles and they’re expanding their group discussion platforms for more interaction. Will Linkedin ever have games like Farmville? Doubtful. Maybe we’ll see a cubicle puzzle or a flash paper toss game (doubtful), but for the most part they keep it pretty professional, and rightfully so.
My point is most people, the target audience of marketers, aren’t on these websites to be marketed to. Most people use social networking as a means of escape. They frequent these sites to sit back and let their brain rest for a few minutes. But in the process they are still that same person they are at work and they still have the same interests. Maybe they’ll stumble across some cleverly designed marketing and might take a produce or service for a ride.
So here’s how to get past that “I don’t want to buy your stuff” wall that most people on social media sites put up.
Think of your social media activity like a party, and then compare that to how you handle your social media marketing right now. Most marketers just throw out their links every time they post a tweet, status update, group discussion topic, video, etc. How would this come across at a party?
Imagine someone just running around screaming at people about themselves and the products they sell. How would that come across? Would anyone want to talk to that person? Probably not. They’d get snubbed.
Now think of how an event networking veteran does their thing at parties and networking events. What does this person do to “work the room?” They strike up conversations. They talk to several different people. They share their stories. They offer assistance. They hand out freebies. THEN, after a relationship has been established, they do their elevator speech about what it is they do and how they can help. Or they ask their prospect to take the next step in their sales funnel. Sign up for my blog, newsletter, free trial, whatever.
Make sense? Are you starting to get the picture?
The same thing goes for social media marketing. The psychology of people is no different online than it is offline. On social media platforms make connections through DMs, wall posts, @mentions, group discussions, fan page messaging, etc. Hand out gifts that you know people want through these same distribution channels. Grow relationships this way before you start selling and you’ll be much more effective.
On top of getting more leads, you’ll also probably make some friends along the way who you can then leverage to help you get the word out about future deals, and vice versa. You’ll grow a partner network online, which can be a very powerful thing.
So take a step back and start viewing your social media marketing like a party. Even though some people use social media for marketing and marketing only, be smart about it. No one wants to talk to the person who is obviously just there to peddle their wares.