Here we are, several years into the rise of social media, and companies still have no clue about what the social web is about.
When I scan through a company’s Facebook page, for example, what I see for the most part are links to its website.
Someone at the company wants to drive traffic to a particular page. So they send out a tweet, or create a Facebook update, or a Google+ post. The social media content is often automatically created, drawing the title and a photo from the site’s web page.
In other words, the social media update is simply a link back to the site, with no intrinsic value of its own.
That’s not social media content. That’s just a hook.
When all you are doing is linking back to your website, you’re missing the point. Your “friends” will soon tire of your antisocial efforts. They won’t stick around if all you do is try to hook them and reel them over to your website to buy something.
If you think about it, you’re not being “social” at all. You’re simply being promotional.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You should create social content that is unique content. You can take a photo and upload it to your favorite social media site. Or a video clip. Or a short text-only post. You can even…gasp…link to great content that resides on a website that isn’t yours.
As with all content, social media content should be original, high-quality content…not derivative or a duplicate of what you already have on your website.
You should also be available to get into conversation with people on your social media profiles. Be there. Engage with people. Answer questions. Acknowledge the value they bring to your page or channel.
“But where,” asks the CEO, “Is the ROI for social media if we don’t use it as a promotional tool to drive traffic to our website?”
The value resides within the social media pages themselves. This is where you make friends, build trust, undo wrongs, improve perceptions and build loyalty.
This is where you build deeper relationships with your customers and prospects. This is where you create unique content that is so great, your followers and friends want to share it across their own social media pages. And so on.
How many likes or retweets do you get when all you do is try to hook people over to a sales page on your website? Not many. I certainly don’t want to share your sales page with my own friends and followers.
But if you give me something unique and interesting to see in your social media streams…and if its value is intrinsic, and it’s not about promoting something…then I’ll be happy to share.
I know, this all sounds obvious. But take a few minutes to view some big brand social media pages and for the most part all you’ll see is hooks and promotion.
And, of course, there is nothing wrong with the occasional link back to your site. That’s OK. Just don’t let those links dominate your social streams.
There only two things you need to get right if you want your business to be a social success online.
First, create unique, quality content that delights your audience and screams to be shared.
Second, jump into the stream and get into real-time, authentic conversations with our friends and followers.
Finally, be patient. You can’t rush relationships.
Go easy on the real-time hooks, and invest more in long-term social.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…
If you found this post helpful, sign up for my e-newsletter and get a free copy of my 35-page guide…
Writing For The Web #1 — 7 Challenges every Writer and Copywriter faces when writing for the Web.
Sign up and I’ll send you the link for the download, and then you’ll receive my most recent post as part of my e-newsletter every Tuesday morning.
(Your email address will be used only for the purpose of sending you this newsletter, and you’ll be free to unsubscribe at any time.)