The desire for a human connection has always been a psychological reality of our species for millennia at the center of Maslow’s hierarchy of requirements. The desire of humanity is deeply based in being accepted and able to contribute to societies.
Remember the dial-up modem era? Although the cheerfully chirping 2400-bps wizards were very sluggish by modern standards, their affordability and mobility enabled even the most basic home computer to connect to internet servers.
By the mid-1990s, the first social media platforms had emerged, beginning with Six Degrees in 1997, which allowed users to establish profiles and develop connections with other users online. In the early 2000s, Friendster and MySpace introduced new levels of features and capabilities, and soon afterwards, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook launched. This illustration below shows the rapid rise of the social media businesses with which you are acquainted.
All of these platforms have two characteristics in common:
1. They assist people in locating and connecting with other persons, thus satisfying a fundamental psychological need.
2. They were not aimed for business use.
Facebook and LinkedIn both provide Groups, which enable anybody to establish a community around a concept, problem, region, theme, or brand, enabling members to interact and discuss shared interests.
Additionally, individuals nowadays utilize social media for news and entertainment. They are no longer reliant on a daily newspaper or the six o’clock news. The networks often include trending news and stories, and users may depend on their friends and connections to share the most popular postings.
While the majority of network founders planned to “monetize” their platforms in some manner, whether via display advertising or something else, their original aim was to facilitate new and unique connections.
YouTube, for example, was established only to allow users to exchange videos with one another. Other social networks at that time didn’t permit video playback, making YouTube distinctive. Within a year, it had surpassed all previous records. Video advertising, which appears before user-uploaded videos, is a form of revenue that began more than a year after YouTube’s founding.
This kind of post-launch deployment and continuous development of social media is precisely why companies struggle to develop an effective, measurable social media strategy. It is always evolving, ambiguous, and complex. Traditional advertising is, in many ways, simpler. Consider billboards.
A firm may collaborate with an advertising agency to select one or more billboard locations that seem to be promising owing to their location, traffic volume, or other characteristics. They’ll engage a graphic designer to develop the ideal vinyl artwork, which will be installed by the advertising firm, and then negotiate and pay a fixed monthly fee based on their contract.
That is just commercial. Your company, like many others, takes a “Pick me!” approach in the aim of capturing a prospective customer’s attention long enough to create a lasting impact. And it works in numerous ways. The perfect billboard (or radio spot, print advertisement, or television commercial) in front of the right person at the right moment may unquestionably generate business outcomes. However, it is costly, impersonal, and difficult to quantify.
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It is not possible to tell how many people saw your billboard or even how many people passed by with precision. Estimates of traffic are based on the seldom performed municipal surveys. There’s no way of talking to individuals who look at your ad, of course, if they don’t first contact you.
In comparison, businesses may establish accounts on social media for free, post material and information for free, and examine analytics and statistics given by those same social networks that show how many people viewed and interacted with their company online. This, along with the option to utilize Google Analytics (which is also free) to track social media referral traffic to a website, presents companies with an amazing potential.
Of course, how you approach and exploit that opportunity is the subject of the remainder of this chapter and book. We’re going to discuss the value of relationships and how to build them on social media.
Being Social On Social Media
Due to the fact that every social network is intended first and primarily for people, companies face a significant disadvantage. Adopting the “Pick me!” broadcast strategy is not just useless; it is also a certain way to backfire. While individuals have been socialized to tolerate the presence of advertisements online, there is widespread hostility against companies that want to disrupt their main purpose for being on these social networks.
In other words, Facebook is used by individuals to connect with their friends and family, not with businesses.
Rather than presenting you with a list of technical criteria or an arbitrary definition of what constitutes a social network, what matters is that you grasp the underlying meaning.
Does the internet service make it easier for people to interact and build relationships? If this is the case, even if it just has a fraction of the users of Facebook or Twitter, it may be securely classified as social media for your purposes. That implies that sites like Yelp, Flickr, and Pinterest all have a place, though some may quibble over the finer points.
The key takeaway is that individuals use social media to connect with, converse with, and learn from others. If you can insert yourself into that process and assist them in meeting that need, you will be on your way to a successful social strategy.
“Concentrate on how to be social, not how to do social,” says inspirational speaker and marketer Jay Baer.
This implies that companies must understand how to develop connections in order to be successful on social media. That is obviously difficult, since connections develop one person at a time. Businesses that are already big or are pursuing fast expansion may be more fascinated with concepts of size and rapid growth.
Social media operates in a very similar manner. When someone follows you or comments on a post for the first time, it’s a chance for you to virtually welcome them to your shop. Will you hurry into your sales presentation or will you take a time to spark some conversation and try to establish rapport? It is feasible to expand connection development by using influencers as a bridge and conduit for consumer interactions.
The Benefits Of Online Relationships
However, before you start working with influencers, you and your business must develop your own presence, personality, and message. Because, even if you utilize social media and communicate with people as your brand, it should be obvious that there is a person speaking behind the logo.
The advantage is that by using social media in an obviously social manner, businesses can develop connections with fans, followers, prospects, and customers that lead to them knowing, like, and trusting the brand. And this often results in very important connections offline.