Companies often talk about ‘using’ Social Media to engage with potential and existing customers. But we think that misses the point of social media. Marketing departments can use broadcast media such as printed titles and television to carry their advertisements to people that they would like to influence. Social networks on the other hand, are collections of people talking to one another. In the same way that a group of friends chatting in the pub are often so absorbed in their conversations that they ignore television adverts or posters or radio ads, so the same is true on social networks. People are on those networks to interact with one another, not to see advertisements.

So the only way to engage with those people is to distract them. So you can try to create ever more intrusive advertisements, but going back to the analogy of a group of friends in a pub, intrusive advertising would be unlikely to be popular. The same can be said for social networks – unwanted intrusion rarely makes you popular.

How to make ‘social’ work for you

The right way to distract your target audience, is to say something interesting: to provide entertainment or opportunities or a way to educate your target audience. This is the essence of content marketing. If you are generating great content – whether that is video, text, pictures, games or audio – people will be interested and they will include you in their daily social media activity. They might even include you in their interactions with their friends.

This is the basis of content marketing. If you are consistently interesting and provide people with opportunities to learn something from you or be entertained, they will keep engaging with your brand and encouraging their friends to do the same. The best practitioners know this. Those companies understand that the people visiting their website or their social media outlets might be there to find out about their products and services, but if they want those people to return time and time again, they need to have more than posts about their products or the special offers they have.

What people will return for over and over again, is anything that will benefit them or delight them.

Once you have grasped the idea that engaging with your existing and potential customers requires you to create tweets or Facebook posts or Pinterest pins or blog posts that are exciting and engaging, you also then need to find ways to let people know about the great stuff you have online. Reaching out is the topic we will cover next so be sure to check back. We will do our best to inform, entertain and delight you!


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