People Don't Want To Be Sold -- They Want To Be Welcomed
October 15, 2013
Oftentimes, as you're looking for "what works" on social platforms and apps, it can be those simple "real world" explanations from actual users that help.
For example, not totally understanding KiK, a smartphone messaging app that boasts 80 million users, I asked my 13 year old what the appeal of KiK is over "normal" texting. She said, "You can still text with people that you don't want to give your (cell phone) number to."
Such a simple, straight to the point answer I would've never gotten to. Here's why:
I don't use the app. But the problem is I still needed to understand its functionality and appeal.
How many times have you found yourself in that dilemma? Asked to use a social or digital platform on behalf of a brand but you don't really grasp it.
There's nothing wrong with not knowing it all. However what gets brands in trouble is not asking for help.
When we jump on social/digital platforms that we don't fully fathom – that's when we unknowingly interfere with the fans' expectations. We fill their News Feeds with desperate posts of persuasion to listen to us – when all they want socially is to feel seen and/or heard.
Working with Jacobs Media clients, it's clear that social requires new skill sets. It's time to blow up existing mentalities of entitlement and embrace the fact that what it takes to sustain socially is being brave and generous.
Moving people is what moves the meter because people want to be welcomed, not pitched.
It's echoed in a roundabout way from every person who participates in the social space. But you can only know that by watching (and listening to) your fans.
Some brands in fact are going beyond listening and actually hiring everyday users.
Nicholas Megalis, a 24 year old Brooklyn based musician, who not only claimed fame for his creative use of Vine – an app that allows you to tell stories in 6 second loops - Megalis has since been hired by Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile realized they needed help in this area so they tapped an everyday person who was succeeding on Vine – on his own - to assist with their messaging.
When Ad Week interviewed Megalis, he spoke candidly to brands about what doesn't work:
"Slapping a product name on a Vine and just expecting people to buy something because you put it online. You can't just be a brand name anymore. You gotta pay attention to people and show them love. If you ever expect people to drink your soda or wear your shoes, you have to make something frickin' cool that they can look at."
While you may not get the most sophisticated responses from everyday users, it's important to hear what they are really saying.
The era of entitlement is over. It is a new era of "earn."
There are other brands beyond Virgin Mobile that not only work at earning fans' attention but are also partnering with everyday social/digital users in order to create shareworthy content.
As you may have seen, McDonald's tapped into the creator of those "bad lip reading" videos that get passed around to create their latest commercial:
And after seeing cool photos of Coke bottles in the snow on Flickr, Coca Cola inked a deal with super fan Joel Robinson to take photos for them during certain company events.
It's understandable you want social to be a path to your airwaves – but tune into the fans first. Those that exceed audience expectations are the ones building on the long term health of their brands (ultimately increasing the bottom line).
Watch your fans. I bet they'll show you something that inspires.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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