Yes, I’m bringing up the old “Social media is just like a cocktail party” analogy. It’s often used, because it’s true.
The brands that truly understand how to use social media and what it is meant for, tend to have the highest engagement and the most “wins”. Let me explain it in party terms.
At any party, you want to be heard and feel that you belong. Successful brands use storytelling and social media to engage with followers. The popular people at parties tell the best stories or jokes, and have the best pictures to share. Nobody wants to hang around the person at the party who talks about themselves the entire time. Brands that use social media to flood the marketplace with sales specials completely miss the mark on how best to use the medium.
We all the appreciate the people at the cocktail party who offer recommendations if they casually overhear that we could use them. Social media is about listening more than talking, after all. We gravitate towards the people who like the same things we do and believe in the same causes. Successful brands subtly build a social framework that encompasses all of these avenues, but do so in a natural, unobtrusive way.
I’d like to share one example from my time as a Social Media Manager for a Lexus dealership. I really wanted to have my ear to the ground and be able to pick up and act on any mention of the brand in my area. I set up a geo search on Hootsuite, which enabled me to see when anyone tweeted the word “Lexus” in a 75 kilometer radius of our store. Once a day, I would quickly scan the latest tweets to see if there was anything worthwhile.
One day, I encountered this tweet:
All I did after that was show that we truly cared. Most of the Twitter interactions never led to a huge uptick in revenue, but I never knew what influencer might be lurking out there, just waiting for me to engage and delight. My response to the initial tweet above led to this back and forth and resulted in one very happy customer who undoubtedly sang our praises to anyone who would listen:
For a brief moment, my dealership was the life of the party, and that is what social media is all about.