The quick answer to today’s post title is that you already know the answer – you’ve been socializing since the day you were born!
Socializing is chatting, sharing, educating, communicating wants and needs. It’s about creating relationships, finding common ground – it’s what we are conditioned to do as humans. We are social animals. It is in our DNA!
Many businesses still believe that marketing is pushing out information and “interrupting” the prospect at a precise moment in her life (interruption marketing is the term). It’s the television commercials you must sit through while watching ABC’s Modern Family (very funny show!). Social media marketing is the exact opposite of interruption marketing. Social media marketing occurs when the prospect wants it to – the prospect controls when she enters the social media realm to engage with people, chat with them, share stories, and get information about products and services she may need or may not yet know she needs! That’s what I mean when I always tell my clients that their companies must “join the conversation and get social”. It’s the ongoing, free-flow of information and ideas that is the essence of social media and not the static push out of traditional marketing.
The ongoing conversation is the part that trips up many small and mid-sized businesses because any ongoing conversation takes time and effort – no matter where that conversation takes place. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen the ongoing conversation in Washington, DC, about our Nation’s budget – that’s the heart of social media. A recent article about how social media is transforming government highlights the power of social media because it naturally fosters transparency and one could argue that transparency is sorely lacking in most governments. In addition to transparency, social media humanizes government, allow for information flow and response during a crisis, and provides an environment for citizens to engage with government bodies and elected officials. All of these elements naturally occur in social media and equally apply to companies selling their products and services.
If your company doesn’t engage in social media marketing, you are missing the opportunity to create relationships just as you normally would in any social environment. I know it takes time and effort, and you can hire people to help you. Don’t you want your product or service to be the go-to resource when your prospect needs you? It won’t be if you’re not a part of the conversation. If the Government understands this then your company should too!