Putting the “social” in Social Media

I’ve been saying for a while now that Social Media is *not* about retweeting your last press release (and, in fact, that using social media for that sort of “push” marketing turns consumers off), but instead about building connections between organizations and audiences and creating networks (of content and connections) that enthrall and enmesh the audience, thereby creating engagement.

I just read an article, Content and the New Marketing Equation, that puts it perfectly: it’s a “move away from promotional content to the delivery of useful, entertaining, or meaningful engagement and experiences through new media.”

Yes.  Why would your audience *want*  to be involved with what you’re sharing?

It all reminds me of a really interesting date I had when I was in college.  There was this guy I liked in one of my classes, so I asked him out (I’ve never been accused of being an introvert!  :-)   He made it clear he wasn’t interested in me as girlfriend material (which I thought was awfully kind of him — I hate being led on) but asked if I wanted to have dinner anyway.   Ermmmm…sure?¹

I approached dinner with some trepidation… I had no simple model for not-date-with-guy-you’ve-just-asked-out, so I was expecting awkwardness and silences aplenty.

There were none, though, as at dinner he pulled out a list of questions — really interesting, intriguing questions².  Things like whether I found infinity or zero a more daunting concept and whether I’d be a tiger or a bluebird if I had to choose one of the two.  Despite the lack of any potential forward momentum, it was a hugely successful date (by my standards), and one that I’d have repeated again (again, even knowing he didn’t like me “that way”).

That’s what good social media is:  it draws you in and engages you even if the provider (for example, a dishwashing liquid or an umbrella) wasn’t “a romantic prospect” (unlike your real life friends who you *want* to be involved with).  Creating that kind of content, though, also requires thought, resources and preparation, as well as a major shift in the way organizations think about their engagement with their audiences.

Or the way I thought a not-date would be.

¹ Of course I paid — I’d asked him out!

² No, I didn’t write down the list — I wish I had  :-)

 

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