If you are like our team, you really do not care what one of your vendors had for lunch. Nor do you care that s/he took out the trash this morning. Tweeting this kind of message to a prospective customer list is a complete waste of everyone’s time. Customer focus is essential in social media (including blogging) communication. Unless you are the chef at a local restaurant and you test new recipes at lunchtime, nobody cares what you had for lunch – we promise!
Task #1: What’s In It For Me?
You can learn amazing things from dogs, if you are observant. For example, Romeo (the little black dog)is very interested in anyone who comes to the door. He barks because he wants them to know he is protecting his home and his pack (family). Once he decides what to expect from you, he either indicates his interest in playing or petting. If you smell remotely like a treat, he sticks to you like glue until you give him the treat.
The similarities between dogs and people are amazing! The first thing everybody (human or canine) wants to know is, “what’s in it for me? Are you promising something I want?” Most people who have spent time around dogs know that if you want a dog’s undivided attention, you should have a treat in your hand or immediately indicate your desire to play.
People are not driven by a desire for treats or play always (although sometimes they are). Yet the volume of messages and posts on social media is so great, that to capture attention, you must make it very clear you are offering something you know your audience wants. Therefore, the first task in social media communication with customers or prospects is to demonstrate customer focus. Tell them immediately what is in it for them.
Task #2: I Want Value
Telling your audience what’s in it for them if they read your blog or article, or if they follow a link, means showing them something of value. To do so, you must know and understand your target audience. You must know how they define value and what value they expect from you in each social media platform. Their expectations of a blog are different from their expectations of your Facebook page.
What kind of information do they expect in your blog? Depending upon the nature of your business, they might want to know how your knowledge or expertise can help them or make their life or business better. They might want to know how you think some newsworthy event will affect them. They might want to know how other people derive value from your products or services. They might want to know about the technical specifications of your product. They might want to know how others have used your product in new or different ways.
On Facebook or in a tweet, they might expect a discount coupon or a link to a coupon. They might expect you (as an expert in your particular field) to share information/articles written by others that will provide value to them.
The bottom line is that you need to know your target audience well enough to know how they define value and what value they expect you to provide where. Is a white paper or e-book worth their contact information? Is a discount coupon a sufficient “thank you” for a Facebook Like? Is access to a private section of your website what your best customers want? What do they expect when they arrive there?
Task #3: I Found Great Value!
Once you understand what your customers and prospects want and expect, you must determine how you can provide it. The baseline for social media success today is giving them what they want, the way they want it, when they want it (usually immediately). Real success in social media, as anywhere else, lies in providing what they want, and adding the “wow factor.”
The “wow factor” is something that exceeds the customer’s or prospect’s expectations (or the promise you made) in a way that makes them say “wow!” The “wow factor” might be the way you deliver the promised or expected value, how quickly you deliver it, or what surprise additional value you deliver with it. For example, when someone shares a product brochure from your website, you send the promised 10% discount coupon for any product in your inventory. You also send a 20% discount coupon for the purchase of a duplicate product for a gift.
Get creative and use your imagination to create compelling offers for your customers and prospects. Always remember that customer focus is essential in social media (and elsewhere). Tell people what’s in it for them if they read and take action on your messaging. Always deliver value that is meaningful to the customer or prospect, and (if possible) deliver greater value than you promise.
By Staff, Little Black Dog Social Media and More