Hello, My Name Is (Insert Company Name Here). Will You Be My Friend?

Kids shaking handsIt seems that the basic rule of thumb for your company’s involvement with social media should be to treat your target audience as you would want your best friend to treat you. You don’t become best friends overnight, right? So, pretend you’re back in the first grade. You have to introduce yourself. If you don’t walk up to the shy kid in the corner how will you ever know that they could be your best friend one day? Be the outgoing one and take the initiative. You might need to keep coming up to them each day at school until they warm up to you (Repeat Exposure). Once they start talking, it’s time to take a step back to let them have the floor. You’ve been talking all week and now it’s time to hear more about them. If you play your cards right by getting to know each kid in your class and letting them get to know the real you, you might get invited to a birthday party. In the social media world, this could be the equivalent of being retweeted on Twitter, liked on Facebook, or introduced on LinkedIn. This follows The Law of Compounding. Think of all the new friends you could meet at the party! When your birthday rolls around (This could represent your company’s call to action) and you send out invitations, you just might get a Big Win when one of your new friends gives you a shiny new bicycle (Perhaps your company lands a large contract). Many of the kids (prospective customers) you meet in elementary school will grow up to be lifelong friends (loyal customers). You have to earn this type of relationship by being a good friend and reaching out to them when they have a bad day (or when they tell you they are dissatisfied with your product).

Eventually you will all grow up and be in search of different relationships. Whether you are looking for someone to date or marry, you will most likely ask your friends first if they know of anyone. The same thing applies when potential employees and companies are looking for a good match. They are diving in deep to social media channels to learn everything they can about one another. If you haven’t already established a positive personal brand, you stand a great chance of being overlooked by recruiters. They have to weed through an enormous amount of information to find you and determine your influence. Have strategy for a way to stand out as an individual.

What’s the bottom line? Be friendly. Be real. Be proactive.

Questions to think about:

1. They say you shouldn’t worry about “likes” and followers because the focus should be quality versus quantity. Big Wins aside, how do you measure the success of your social media? Does it vary by channel?

2. You have to establish a relationship with your customer before asking something in return from them. How do you know when they are ready to receive your call to action?

3. I see Google+ as a strong player in social media. I haven’t seen much from Bing other than the fact that they will be teaming up with Klout to help monitor your social media influence? Are they doing anything else in the social media world to keep up with Google?

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10 thoughts on “Hello, My Name Is (Insert Company Name Here). Will You Be My Friend?

  1. Erin, I liked how you broke everything down into basic terms of human interaction and illustrated what social media is: tools to further that human interaction.

    In terms of Google +, for me personally, I haven’t been too thrilled with it. To me, it is too clunky, but maybe I need to spend more time with it and give it a chance.

    I think “Little Wins” can be measured, i.e.: in your amount of shares on Facebook. But sometimes, those small wins are something less tangible, like a customer/viewer thanking you for responding to their question in a timely manner. To be heard: At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?

    1. Amanda, I agree that Google+ is harder to figure out. It’s not as intuitive as Facebook. I’m starting to see some really great posts from some of the communities I’ve joined. Once the rest of our class becomes more comfortable I think we will start to see a boost in the social benefit.

      I think you’re right about “Little Wins”. There’s just so much that goes into measuring your social media success. I wonder if companies have methods to track it internally or if it is only tracked through metrics that come directly from the social media channels they choose to utilize.

  2. Your question of how you measures the success of your social media is my current “burning issue”. It seems that so many Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, etc are posting with the sole intention of getting likes. Isn’t that the point? To drive more attention and viewers to your page/business? But what do those like translate too and how do we turn likes into sales?
    I think for me, posting pictures gets people’s attention. They see it, they like it, they in turn want to buy it. I do not think that is the case for most people, since many business social media pages are not selling one tangible item, but rather a service.

    1. Lesley, I think a product picture is more of a necessity than an attention-getter. I think it is absolutely required if you sell tangible items. Nobody is going to buy something without first seeing it. As for service-based companies, I believe it would be a much greater challenge. They would probably have to find really informative content to share with their audience. Their goal should be to appear as a subject matter expert in order to gain trust and potential clients.

  3. Erin, I think your questions are questions and really agree with Lesley and Amanda’s views. While likes are great on any form of social media are other people really seeing your brand because of that? No. When was the last time you went to a restaurant because someone liked it on Facebook? You probably haven’t. I am more intrigued to check out a new place to eat because someone tagged themselves there and posted a picture of their food. That will get my attention. I think that is the best way to employ your followers. Get them to be loyal to your brand and they will go the extra mile to help you without even realizing it.

    I still can’t seem to get the whole Google+ thing down but I do see Google as a bigger player in the social media environment than Bing. While Bing look cool Google has the reputation and devoted followers that will keep it ahead of the game. It will be interesting to see if this is still the case in 5 years when Klout is more well known.

    1. Alexis, I definitely think a tag at at a restaurant and photo of the meal is a huge draw for me. Most people are visually inspired. Although, I would probably at least ask someone about a restaurant if I saw that they “like” it. I’m a foodie and always looking for a good recommendation.

      Google+ is next on my list to tackle. I feel pretty comfortable with the other channels but it’s still giving me some trouble. I think the reason why it seems so challenging is because it is very powerful. There are so many elements to explore. I am also very curious to see where else Bing ends up in the social media world in the future.

  4. Erin, your question about when customers will be ready for their call to action is very interesting and thought provoking. I could be in the minority here, but my approach tends to be passive. If they are ready for their call to action they will let you know. However, if you take an active approach, more often than not customers just won’t respond to it if they don’t want to. I don’t think taking the active approach will hurt business, it’s just not my particular style. Do you agree with the repeat exposure concept? I’m the kind of person that takes only one viewing to have a positive or negative reaction and find the concept of repeat exposure to be off-putting. The more I see an ad campaign the less likely I am to purchase that product, even if I started out semi-interested.

    1. smschira, I think you’re right about taking a passive approach. People hate being marketed to. I do agree with repeat exposure. However, I believe the message should be the same but the delivery should vary.

  5. I love the comparison between social media and become best friends. That is so true and something to really think about! To answer question number two, I believe it takes time, patience, and commitment before they are ready to receive a call to action. Yet, there are some people who jump right in and want to immediately see what your call to action is. I wrote on my blog that it takes 6-8 exposures of a product before a customer buys it. This is a large amount of exposures and in my opinion a little annoying. Most of the time a simply reminder or feedback from customers is what it takes to feel like they can trust you before anything else can take place.

    1. I certainly think patience is key. When it comes to repeat exposure, I can see how some people could get easily annoyed. The extra credit goes to those who can deliver the same message with enough creativity or entertainment multiple times without losing their audience’s interest.

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