Why Social Media Marketing is All About Engagement, Not Advertising

By Benjamin Roussey

The very core of how businesses interacted with consumers went through a major transformation with the advent of the Internet. Traditionally, consumers were wooed through messages and communications by  businesses and brands that were directed at influencing their buying decisions. But today with social media, customers hold the reins on what they want to see. And what they don’t want to be shoved down their throats, is blatant marketing and advertising.  If you want your business to compete with the best, you need to work around this insight, and deliver your message in such a way, that it doesn’t sound like a pitch.
Traditional advertising doesn’t demand much from a potential customer, except that they consume the message that is delivered to them and possibly act on it with regards to making a purchase, signing up etc. But when you are trying to engage a customer on social media, it calls for offering a customer something of value. If it had to be defined, advertising benefits the advertiser, whereas engagement holds the consumer to be of prime importance.
Engagement-based marketing like social media marketing for instance, offers consumers something they really want or need, without thinking about returns on investment. That is something that comes much later, through authority, goodwill, social bookmarking and trust generated from the engagement.
Social media marketing campaigns are great ways to identify who your target audience is, where to reach them, what they need, how to provide that to them and what to say to them. It is also critical for your social media marketing strategy to be of value to your potential customer. Value could mean many different things in the online space – information, entertainment, instructions, support, guidance etc. When you are able to identify which kind of value your customer expects from the engagement you provide in your social media marketing efforts, you will be able to create a winning strategy.
A great way to do that is to set offer some value-added content that talks not about your product, but about the general arena within which your business operates. For instance, if you are a beauty brand, instead of placing ads everywhere the Internet and on social media professing how great your product is, why not create pages on Twitter, Facebook and other social media forums and offer beauty tips to consumers, branded by your business. That will increase your visibility, establish your business as an authority in its field, make your customers feel that you are credible and trustworthy and lead to social bookmarking.
Either way, your business needs to come to terms with the fact that social media marketing isn’t an overnight process. Generating engagement isn’t something that you can rush and has to happen organically and over time. Customers have to come to naturally, otherwise the purpose of your social media campaign skews from being focused on engagement, to being a sales pitch. And always remember, that your customer isn’t stupid. So don’t try and plug in a pitch. They will spot it from a mile away.

 

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