Great you have just set up your social media accounts for your business and now the business will start rolling, correct?
In fact if this was your plan I would be seriously concerned about the future existence of your firm.
Like in everything there are going to winners and losers and in the corporate social media game it is exactly the same… There are winners and losers. Unfortunately in most cases it is the latter – however there are specific ways to avoid this failure!
To gain a better understanding of why most businesses fail with their social media strategy we must look into how they are failing.
What most businesses are doing with their social media strategy is bare minimum. They are basically creating a social media account, asking their friends and customers to like it then posting once every 2 months advertising what they are selling and using the platform solely for advertising purposes.
Essentially all they are using social media for is for a marketing tool and sometimes measuring the success of it.
Now I’m not going to tell you that you should not do this stuff however it is essentially a weak effort toward social media.
This idea can be broken down into the concept called First Generation Social Media.
When businesses only apply this single concept to their strategy we can tell that they see their customers as consumers when they should see them as partners.
We will explain soon how and why they should see them as partners as oppose to consumers.
Now lets think, your customers aren’t going to get anything out of you advertising your business through social media as it doesn’t add any value to their lives.
There’s a key word there: Value
Value is the single most important thing to implement in social media. Why would anyone give you the time of day if you aren’t willing to provide something for them in return?
While providing value is very important to social media strategy it is also important to be able to connect and engage the audience.
The terms connect and engage usually come after value is provided.
So how does one first create value?
Well in social media there are multiple reasons to give back to your audience and provide value! I have talked about giving back value in some of my other blog posts like here which provides a good run down on social media strategy.
Examples of ways to offer value to your audience:
- Informational Blog posts
- Discount codes
- Invitations to events
These are only a handful of things you can do to provide value which makes it as easy as it looks! Even with little capital you can still provide value through content.
Content is king!
What really requires a good strategy is ways we can engage our customers with this value. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through customer co-creation.
Customer co-creation is when the customer actively participates in creating something alongside a business. Your customers are the end users of your product and it makes sense for them to assist you in developing something that will solve their problems and fulfill their needs.
In fact this is perhaps some of the greatest amount of value you can receive from your customers.
Co-creating leads to greater engagement with customers needless to say, because it makes the customers feel value by helping out you as a business (particularly if you are well established and perceived in the marketplace).
The customer will feel privileged and honored to be able to say “yeah I helped build x product which turned into a huge success” and especially because their interest lies in the niche in which your business has based itself on.
For example let’s say that me being a huge fan of skateboarding, was responsible to help Supreme (a skateboard/clothing company) create an awesome design on their latest t-shirt which turned out to be a huge success and sold millions worldwide. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be a part of that? Of course it would be!
Not only does the customer benefit from the co-creating in value in a sense of pride and possibly monetary gain, but also you as a business do tremendously.
As I previously mentioned, it makes sense to invite your customers to help create something you are going to sell as they are the end user and are the ones whose needs and problems will be fulfilled.
Essentially a win/win scenario.
What a lot of people do not also realize is that the idea of co-creating leads to customers preaching about your business and sharing every piece of content you have which evidently means that your audience base grows and compounds every time this happens!
A brand that was able to succeed from this idea of co-creating with its customers was Starbucks and the MyStarbucksIdea website. The concept of this idea was for Starbucks fans to submit new ideas for product and other means so that Starbucks could see the demand and implement the ideas into their stores.
This was started from very dedicated users who saw Starbucks as their own brand and wanted to help them in making business decisions. In fact some of the ideas that were submitted turned out to be very lucrative for Starbucks and went on to earn them significant amounts of money.
One idea that was a major hit was the idea to start serving healthier sandwiches after the decision was announced to discontinue them. So after they stopped making sandwiches the online community stepped in and begged them to start selling them again but in a healthier form – this decision has gone on to make them (Starbucks) millions of dollars by listening and co-creating with their customers through this online forum.
When the idea of co-creating and encouraging engagement to provide value is realized, we can call this the concept of Second Generation Social Media and can see how it is much more valuable than the first generation.
When businesses question themselves: why they are competing in social media, they should see it as a tool for not only promoting themselves but also to collaborate and co-create alongside their customers. From this reality check they will not only benefit with future business but a brand that has emotion surrounding it by innovative/life-long users.
I believe that once you realize that you have created a passion brand and there is communities dedicated to loving your brand, you can say that you have succeeded in social media. Whether that be a large following who solely tune into your content just for the sake of being passionate about what your brand does and/or a large following who wants to see your business succeed and are willing to help you out along the way.
Thanks for tuning into this blog post, I hope you enjoyed it! Please share this on YOUR social media accounts and I will really appreciate it!
To engage you this time my question is: What brands have you seen co-create alongside their customers and how do you think this has effected them (the business) in the long run?
Please leave your answers in the comment section below and I will respond to each one personally.