Success in social media is defined based upon specific goals and objectives. Most agree that Random Acts of Social Media (RASMs) and Random Acts of Marketing (RAMs) are not going to get us into the ROI hall of fame in 2011!
I also happen to agree (as I hope you do) that social media should be executed under the umbrella of a plan with a focus on integrating into the DNA of your business in support of broader goals and objectives.
So, for the sake of this post let’s assume we have a plan, we have goals and we have objectives. One might think, “great, we’re done planning – now let’s go update our status.”
Wrong! Don’t head straight to the land of Zuckie until you and your social media team have taken the time to understand your audience. Get inside their head and figure out what makes them tick. What attracts them organically to you, your brand and your services? Hopefully you already did this as part of building your plan, establishing your goals etc. However, I know most of us have not, thus the reason for this post!
Welcome to the INSPIRATION AGE (insert your own superhero echo)! Focus on how you can inspire your audiences to action. As Brian Solis states, the online currency for social media is action. Amen! No truer words could be spoken. But just how do we get our communities to take action. The question is simple and the answer is complicated but shouldn’t be. Know your community member. Know what they need. Know how you can help them. Then figure out how to communicate with them in a way that inspires them to take action on your behalf. Perhaps the following suggestions will help.
1. What is the mindset of your audience? Where are they emotionally, mentally, professionally, financially, physically, and possibly even from a geography basis depending on your service offering. Are they under pressure? Are they financially distressed, in the middle of a move, or months away from getting married? The mindset of your audience can unlock many keys to connecting with them emotionally.
Social Media Call-to-Action: Post a morning and afternoon quote to Facebook that relates to where their mindset is.
2. What do they need? How can your product or service feel a need in their life or business? Only you can define this for your community. The needs of an audience in Charleston, SC are going to be different from those in Rancho Cordova, CA.
3. What do they want? This is different than a “need”. They may need to buy scrubs, a stethoscope, or even a good mechanical lead pencil. However, they may “want” to make a difference in aging-adult healthcare because of how their own grandmother was treated in a nursing facility, and list goes on. Understanding the difference between needs and wants can help you not only connect emotionally but also highlight key messages that will resonate with the securities the “need” makes them feel as well as the excitement or fulfillment the securing of the want will fill.
Social Media Example: Execute a poll asking what their top goals or needs are for 2011. You’ll be surprised how many people will answer this question if you simply ask!
4. What could make their life easier? Don’t forget to connect with the person as a human being. Don’t only focus on the business objectives of your audience. Also focus on the individual needs they have as a human being, as a father, mother, daughter, or friend. Are they worried of losing their part-time job? How can your product or service help them feel more secure in their education? How can you help them enjoy more financial reward so they can spend it on their family? Knowing their state of mind, needs and desires will help you better understand how you can help better their life.
Social Media Example: Again, ask the question. Execute a poll asking what they dream about. Ask them “what if” types of questions. Ask them what their favorite vacation spots are. Ask them “what if” time was of no constraint, how would they spend their week.
5. How can you help them be more efficient? Really take the time in this area to understand and validate the core opportunities you have to align your products to their education needs. The better you can do this the higher chance you have at inspiring them to subscribe to your email newsletter, click the Facebook like button or even apply! Give them a reason to do such!
Social Media Example: This is where the rubber meets the road in regard to you establishing your thought leadership. Let them know you understand their desire for education and future employment. Talk directly to their needs and wants for their education. Give them tips, best practices. Give your best stuff within your free offers. Don’t hold back. If you do this, then when it’s time for the lead to make a decision you will be one of the first that will come to mind.
6. How can you help them spend more time with their family and friends enjoying life? Who doesn’t wish they had more time to live and enjoy life? If your campus can do such, time to let your audience know it can! Don’t be shy in sharing your life enhancing benefits!
Social Media Example: Same thing goes here. If your product helps their life, tell them so. However, don’t focus the message on your product. Focus the message on the benefits and what it can do for your audience!
7. How can you help them achieve their dreams? What do they dream of? Where do they dream of being in one, two, three or five years? Where would they like to be? Who would they like to be with? What do they want to be doing? How would they like to get there? Why do they dream of this?
8. What can help them reach a personal, business goal or dream? What career goals do they have? How can your product or service help them advance in their career? How can it help secure their position within their organization or within the community? Same thing goes for the personal goals. Who do they want to be? Do they need help securing a better job so they can pay their bills, afford to take a vacation, spend more time with family.
9. How can you help them achieve more satisfaction or peace in life and in their education? What brings them peace? What makes them feel satisfied? If peace for them is keeping their grades up then by all means don’t be afraid to include some marketing messages on such. Talk about tutoring and extra credit, etc. Zooming in on the human being side of business helps you navigage roadways into business opportunites as well as overcome sales obstacles you’d never be able to do otherwise.
Social Media Example: Start a Facebook “Take Back Your Weekend” event on your Facebook fan page. Crowdsource the discussion. Ask them to partiicpate and share the best ways they know to get their assignments done before Friday night so they can take back their weekends. Guess what, in asking such questions in the open social media world not only are you establishing yourself as a thought leader, engaging with your audience, but you are also doing research without having to do a whole lot of work.
10. How can you relate to them? What can you do to relate to them personally and professionally? What do you have in common with them? How can you help them know there are others who struggle with the same challenges? Let them know you are there to help. Celebrate their wins. Be there for them when they face challenges. Be aware of who they are, what they are doing and what they need. The better you can relate to them the better you will know then and can build an authentic relationship with them.