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The counter-intuitive nature of a strong social media strategy

I was going to put together a highly technical article to support my hypothesis, even going as far as to invoke shades of constructor theory, but then it hit me that’s its best to cover a counter-intuitive concept with a simply visual metaphor.

Simply put, good social media marketing is a bit of a magic trick.







What I mean is that much like a good magic trick, it goes against common intuition. Still not following me? Well then let me lay out a few examples:

  1. Social media content shouldn’t overtly promote or market anything – instead it should be editorial in nature. This is a very difficult thing for many marketing executives to grasp – even at the enterprise level. They constantly get hung up on how a particular campaign or content is going to promote a particular product, service, brand, etc. They insist on making direct-response revenue the one of, if not “the”, primary KPI. Instead, strive to create editorial content that provides some sort of value to the human beings engaging with it first and foremost. Said content can be loosely related to the types of products/services your brand offers, but that should be far from the primary goal. Instead, the primary goal should be to make something interesting; something a human being will actually want to remember and share with friends. Sadly, this often not the case, because many marketers are still stuck in the traditional marketing mindset and insist on promotion when they should instead be focus on getting permission. Incidentally, if you do adopt this approach but your brand insists on working in some promotion, insist on an 80/20 rule (80% of the good stuff, 20% of the overtly promotional stuff).
  2. Social media’s best method for generating direct-response conversion is via natural search (e.g. SEO) – I often refer to this as a magic trick because when done properly, social media promotions can result in a steady stream of influential links from influential websites, which in turn, can drive improved natural search positioning (assuming you have all of the technical SEO facets in order). And once that happens, all it takes is a little bit of nimble analytics reporting to demonstrate how the social media had a direct impact on SEO conversion/revenue. The same magic trick can be employed by PR leaders looking to validate their efforts, but I digress…
  3. Social media is about much more than marketing – Astute marketers should immediately look to partner with cross-functional stakeholders in PR, customer service, and other key business divisions (including the C-suites) so that they can build out a fundamental social business strategy. Then and only then can you fully leverage the data and insights that digital social networks can provide.
Some of these ideas go directly against the grain of what most self-professed social media gurus are preaching these days. But as you likely already know, social media gurus are a dime a dozen. Measurably successful social media strategy is a much rarer gem.


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  • uphelpsr

    It’s all about relationships. It should follow the way you would have a personal conversation with someone, but how many people have good public speaking skills. We earn the right to be heard with interesting things to say, but more importantly, by listening (first).

    • hugoguzman

      Thanks for swinging by to chime in, Roger! You are absolutely right. Relationships and real human engagement are fundamental. And that has little chance of happening if you’re putting out content that’s overtly promotional.

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