2013 Is About Wearing Social Media Shoes

It is fair to say that we have passed social media market penetration and most user segments are now engaged in at least one social network on a regular basis. Many marketers and businesses have learned to post, schedule and engage with an audience, ensuring that they have some level of presence within the social graph. All of which are extremely important. But what now?

walk a mile SocialMediaI see 2013 marking a shift of focus and one that is long overdue. As social media marketing continues to mature, what consumers expect is also maturing. Major brands and social media agencies are going to have to shift from a brand centric focus to a consumer interest focus. Small and medium brands and marketers will have to make this shift as well.

When I say “Wearing Social Media Shoes”, I am referring to the phrase and idea of walking in your customers shoes. In other words, putting yourself in their shoes and truly understanding your audience, who they are, what they are into, in order to better understand them and be able to focus your content and message in new and effective ways. Brands need to do a much better job at knowing their audiences likes and interests, thereby delivering content that fills those interests.  More importantly, using this information to provide a better experience for fans and followers by removing “over self-promotion”.

Social network users are catching up. They are becoming more savvy about social media and will more frequently to tune out a lot of the promotional posts that are becoming common. Social media agencies and marketers need to shift their content aggregation, posting and creation tactics to better focus on the prospect and their interests. Not doing so will cause disconnects physically and emotionally with ones community.

The great thing about the shift I see coming is that it mirrors human nature offline. Meaning that most people become much more engaged with others that discuss topics THEY are interested in. Since I view social media as a parallel universe to the real world, doing what you would do to build a relationship and a connection with people in the real world, works as well and faster in social media.

Here are SOME key things to consider when evaluating your audience and developing a social media content strategy:

1) Age/Gender

2) Geographical considerations

3) What are they searching for online?

4) Who else do they follow/like in social media?

Major brands will continue to be slow to adopt this change. They are some of the worst at proper social media marketing management. They are so used to everything being about them in direct marketing and advertising, don’t expect them to hurry to start posting more content that isn’t about them. Although, they will HAVE to…

The above four considerations will often guide you to the 3-5 max key topics that drive your audiences interests when they take part in social media. The better you do at determining who your audience is and what topics they are into, the more effectively your content strategy will be at creating conversation and building relationships.

17 thoughts on “2013 Is About Wearing Social Media Shoes

  1. Great information as usual, Robert! Thanks! I see lots of really big brands self promoting in almost every one of their social posts. They do get engagement, but I believe they are trading on the already established names and reputations of their brands. New and smaller businesses would be dead in the water from the start if they conducted their social media campaigns in such a manner!

    1. No question. The sad part is that many SMB’s do because the industry leaders often write about the big brands and they follow those “Leaders” and do what they write. It is very sad, but the truth is that MOST big brands do direct marketing and advertising, not social media.

  2. Bravo Robert! Well said as always. It’s very challenging to move companies beyond self promotion when they truly believe that they need to ‘push’ their brand beyond the competition. I hope we see more companies starting to think of their social platforms as being at a friendly neighborhood BBQ rather than in a competition for sales.

  3. Great post, Robert!

    There seems to be a disconnect in the world of business when it comes to social media. Too many businesses forget that they are not the client and what works for them may not work for their customers. It’s simple, but effective, marketing – tied up in a pretty ribbon. Give your customers what they want, need and desire – through platforms they know, like and trust – and you have yourself a successful business.

  4. Lots of good points there. What do consumers want?
    -content that makes them feel good.
    -content that makes them look good
    -content they can participate in

    Participation is key and the brands who use social media to give an audience something TO DO instead of just something to consume, will be among the big winners.

    A simple example would be PRS For Music who wanted to raise awareness of illegal downloading. They created a site where you entered your postcode, it told you the most illegally downloaded artist in your area and let you share it through Facebook. Simple, but people couldn’t resist doing it.

  5. Social media marketing needs to be thought of as the catalyst for a complete shift in the way big brands operate – starting with change management. I think the reason why brands continue to force-feed advertising and direct marketing into their customer’s mouths is because it’s baked into a long-standing culture – which can be very tough to uproot. Maybe we just need to wear our combat boots more often to kick some sense into ’em! ;)

    1. lol unfortunately, the only thing that will get the major brands to do Social Media correctly will be the same thing that gets them to abandon the medium. That is consumers not responding. I just ignore the big brands…

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