What if I told you that there was one change you could make to your social media that would totally and completely revolutionise it – for the better?
And moreover – this change doesn’t involve learning a new skill, mastering a new platform or any financial investment. It just involves a paradigm shift, a new way of looking at things.
Well, the good news is that there is! To really achieve social media success, you must internalise this message:
Your customers are just not that into you.
Not that they don’t like your products or services, or that they are not avid users; they may even be enormously loyal. Nor that they don’t prefer you over the competition.
But simply that, however crazy they are about you, there’s someone they’re even crazier about, and that’s themselves.
And the reason they are crazy about you (if they are) is not because you’re so great – but because you, in some way, answer a need for them. Your product helps them in some way.
At the end of the day, very few of your clients really care whether your company has hired an exciting new CEO or fired its CFO. They are unlikely to lose sleep over whether you are launching 10 new products next quarter, or none. That amazing award you won (the subject of your latest gushing press release)? THEY DON’T CARE.
What they do want to know is how your new product can solve their problems – what’s in it for them. That’s it.
If you have a hard time believing me, think about your own company. What’s the only thing you really care about? Yourself – obviously. Making profit is your raison d’etre.
Everything you do is meant to advance your own growth, gain a larger share of the market, beat the competition. You are at the centre of your own universe, and whether a client, tool or industry development is “good” or “bad” depends on one thing – is it “good” or “bad” for your company?
It’s the same for your customers. They are – naturally – at the centre of their own universes as well. You might think they are attached to you, but they are attached to you only for as long as you are providing them with a service or product that they really need, that suits them better than the other things out there.
So how can this realisation change your social media programme forever?
It’s simple. Traditional advertising is (broadly) about companies shouting about their own merits. If you tell people enough times how wonderful you are, maybe eventually they will believe you.
Social media is about building deep relationships with your potential customers. If you talk to them enough about the things they care about, and listen to them enough as well, maybe eventually they will trust you so much that they will buy from you.
As soon as you understand that what they are really interested in is themselves – and not you – it completely changes the nature of this conversation.
Say, for example, you’re selling clocks. To really tug at your potential customers’ heartstrings, you need to focus on how your clock will help them get their children out of the door on time – and not on its super-cool new mechanism.
To really make yourself relevant to their lives, you must talk about how hard it is to wake up after feeding a baby for half the night – not about the range of 12 colours the clock comes in.
In short, you need to get into your audience’s heads, and approach your sales entirely from their point of view – not your own. The more you know about them the better. Here at Brainstorm, we actually build detailed portraits of composite figures that represent our target audience, so that we can really get a keen understanding of what makes them tick. (These are called “buyer personas”.)
It’s counter-intuitive that to succeed on social media means talking about yourself less, not more. Nevertheless, that’s the reality.
Your customers? They’re just not that into you, I’m afraid.
Miriam Shaviv is Director of Content at Brainstorm Digital.
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