Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Don’t be a Virus, Be a Disorder

Why engagement, not going viral, should be your strategy

It’s only natural to want people to like you, but if you’re measuring the success of your social media by the number of likes you have, then you’re missing the point. So many people would give their texting thumb to have the next viral internet sensation, but think about what we know about true viruses: they come quickly, shake things up, then go away and get back to normal just as quickly. If you are serious about your social media, e.g. if you’ve put someone in charge of your social media presence, what you need to be thinking about is how to be a disorder, that is, how to get create an ongoing need within your audience.

Undoubtedly you have a friend who has a bum knee. They have a story from back in the day when they twisted it, heard a pop, and from then on they have to take their knee into consideration when performing activities (or when the weather changes). This is what your social media strategy should model. You pop with your audience, your customers, when they initially like you. If you are giving your audience what they want, meaningful content, you will turn that pop into a need that has to be attended to on an ongoing basis. Say your product is therapy for said bum knee, if your online presence provides content about maintaining stability, reducing pain, and gives information about new products you have, all things that are beneficial to their bum knee, your customer is going to keep on liking your page.

The long-term like is good news, but even better is your customer’s sharing of the information you are providing. When they hear of a friend tearing up a knee, hopefully not you in a weird surfing incident, they will share your latest article on pain management or tell them about the new product their therapist just talked about—the kind of free marketing we all get excited about. We’ve known for years that personal endorsements are the key influencer on consumer behavior. People trust their friends and your customers will trust you if you engage with them. The key to this is listening to them to find out what they will like and I will cover that in another blog. The article you share on their Facebook page gets noticed by someone whose wife was thinking about getting therapy for the ankle she broke in college… and on and on until your brand is a trusted expert in the area.

The importance of engagement is so well known to seasoned social media strategists that many times we forget to educate businesses who think the key to success is to be the next viral sensation. A viral hit is wonderful for initial impact, but you do not want your brand to be something that can be treated quickly and returns the user to life as usual. Your brand’s social media strategy should continuously ask “and then what” to be successful. You’re going to pop—and then what? A successful response should be ongoing engagement with the audience.

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