I’ve spoken with a lot of people who tell me that social media is nothing but a waste of time from a marketing standpoint. Usually I then go look at their efforts and find that they’re firehosing. What is firehosing? To start, it’s a great way to get out of the minds of the people whom you’re trying to reach.
Think about a firehose. It’s a very powerful source of water that is meant to accomplish one thing - produce so much water pressure that it literally starves a fire of oxygen, killing the fire.
That’s what some people think social media marketing is - spraying their message. But often times they kill any interest in their product or service like the fire starving for oxygen. This is the worst way to use social media for marketing.
So then what is social media? Well, it’s the modern version of the water cooler. People go to relax and catch up on what the people they care about are doing. It also lets us keep in touch with people who we do care about but don’t see very often which is a huge appeal for some people.
If social media were a food it would probably be dessert. You go to get the fun gossip and highlights of people’s days but there’s not much nourishment. It could also be The National Enquirer but for normal people like you and I.
So how can you interrupt this stream of stupidity with something people actually want to consume? Consider offering something that people will want to share.
For example, if you have a restaurant you are likely to be an expert in food safety. Offering something like the top 5 tips for staying safe with chicken preparation would probably get people to share your story plus it would position you as knowing about food safety which would imply that your restaurant is really clean.
I see some serious firehosing by tribal casinos but what would really get me interested is some history and facts about their tribe of Native Americans. In fact I have yet to see a tribal casino really use this in their marketing and either I am missing something or they are.
Remember, social media is a vehicle of emotions so recently our local theater company had a really well done performance of A Tuna Christmas. Their Facebook Page was logically being used to promote the play with a poster of the play. I went to see this several times and saw a scene that just had to be the poster image for this play, so I took it and used it in a post on the page.
The previous posts about the play had a reach of never more than 75 people with an average of about half that. This image and post reached over 1,000 people.
The bottom line is that social media is something we are choosing to do as a form of enjoyment and a way to have some fun with our electronic devices. When you’re posting for your business consider what kind of thing people would enjoy sharing or reading. Yes, there are times to put specials on your page or create a call to action but first you should deliver content that people are going to want to share with others.
The best analogy I can think of is inviting an insurance salesman into your living room. If (s)he hasn’t become someone you care to spend time with before asking for the sale, they will never earn your business. Firehosing is best left up to your local fire department. Your job is to engage your prospects and clients with something they’ll actually care about.