Social Media engagement is meant to be part of your marketing. Yes, I know, you’ve read and heard marketers talk about this a bunch of times. And if you’re a regular reader of my articles, you know I talk about remembering your online followers/fans are real people, with feelings. But, seriously, I want you to consider how you interact with people online. As an Ambassador for beyondblue and frequent helper for RUOK?Day, you will have to bear with me that I’m a different kind of marketer who does actually care about this “stuff”. Australian Singer/Songwriter Kate Ceberano just followed me on Twitter. Now, I have a few cool celebrities following me, so why did Kate make me squeal and feel amazingly special? Because it took me back to 1985, when I was 13/14yo being bullied at home and school, a time when I didn’t want to live. How I coped was by putting on my headphones, plugging into a radio and escaping into a fantasy world where I hung out with the musicians I would watch on Countdown (Australian music TV show). It made me imagine going back to 14yo me and saying: Everything is going to end up great; even Kate Ceberano will connect with you.
Now celebrities can’t feel obligated to follow every person they’ve touched. But this does go to illustrate how an online action can make someone feel, how it made me feel.
Then there is who may be the nicest person on television, Australian Sports Presenter/Journalist Brad McEwan. As I’ve written previously, we connected on Twitter over our beyondblue roles. A few months ago he assisted me with a situation privately online with sincerity and heart. A small act (in his busy day) that made me feel like an actual person – in this case, not alone. And I can’t even begin to tell of the countless other people I have connected with, especially on Twitter, who have done the same: made me feel connected, happy and supported. On the flip side, there are people who don’t follow or reply online. People who want you to share their articles but don’t share yours. People who possibly believe they will look more important if they only talk with “influencers”.
My advice to clients starting a social media strategy is to never risk making anyone feel unimportant or less than influential. And the bigger your tribe, the bigger your obligation.
So, yes, I harp on about social media engagement, about connecting with people, about treating people online as you would in person because I know how online communities have affected me (and I’m Talking way back to 1997 when I had debilitating anxiety and online was my only community). And how does social media engagement tie into a marketing strategy? Well, how does customer service tie into your marketing strategy? The Internet means we can connect with more people than ever before. Use it to your best marketing advantage and never forget we all started with no one in our tribe.