Social Media – The Human Hunger

April’s Social Slam was full of great insight and bright minds from around the nation. Social Media experts such as Jay BaerTrey Pennington, and Christina Kerley gave keynote speeches that sparked the long round of incessant tweets (Me = GUILTY).

But one teaching really stood out above the rest for me and that was Trey Pennington’s speech on the ” Three-Fold Hunger”.

THREE-FOLD HUNGER

What’s this “Three-Fold Hunger” you say? It’s the three most basic needs that all human beings have.
1. We all want to be heard.
2. We all want to be understood
3. We want to feel that our lives count.

Not only are these the most basic of human needs, but are also the most fundamental  levels of customers service. Luckily, social media serves as a fantastic arena to meet both of those needs: to listen to and to be heard. Most of us commonly use SM as a place to voice our opinions, crack jokes (hoping to get a couple “LOLs”), and to ask advice from fellow social medialites.

For business owners, it’s a way to really dig into the psyche of your fans and get to know them on an even more personal level. The one-to-one communication through social networks lets users know that they have been seen, heard, and of course, that their voice matters.

MEASURING SUCCESS

Another statement from Trey that grabbed my attention was that, “If you are in social media for the profits, you are likely in it for wrong reason. And at best,  profits are trailing indicator. ”

ROI is the biggest obstacle that businesses face and is also the hardest to truly quantify.According to a recent  Social Media Examiner survey of 1,356 businesses, how to measure  social media return on investment is the number one question that marketers are asking.

Although sales in the end does matter; as Trey said, it’s not the only indicator. Success can be seen through the conversations you’ve sparked, the debates others have had between each other, a fellow fan answering another fan’s question, or a big praise on your wall. It’s about creating a place that people can go to chat and form a community around your brand.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T

So what is social media NOT? Social Media is not about selling or shoving your product in people’s faces. The true key is genuine dialogue, deepening relationships with current customers (or new ones), and giving a human voice to the brand.

Your readers are smart. They can sense a schmoozer from a mile away. So long as you are providing interesting, quality content they’re bound to stick around. Who knows, they may even BUY something from you! 

When it comes to it, put yourselves in the shoes of your fans. What interests you? Think of it as telling a story around your brand and products.

WHERE’S THE $$$?

So where’s the actual sales piece in this? The sales aspect happens when you continue to keep your customers happy and keep them coming in. They are now brand loyal patrons who are guaranteed to bring in a friend (or two).

THE FACTS: EXPERIENCE VS. TIME

It’s important to remember that “success” doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to evolve and have your community grow with you. Social Media Examiner’s 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that there is a direct correlation between time spent and experience. Those with more years of social media experience spend more time each week conducting social media activities than those with less experience. For example, 63% of people with 3 or more years of experience spend more than 10 hours a week doing social media activities. Only 41% of those with 1 to 3 years experience spend that much time.

Another interesting find is that the number one advantage of social media marketing is generating more business exposure, as indicated by 88% of marketers.

SO WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN?

It means that:

1. Approaching social media in a way that puts your customers’ wants and needs (listening, communicating, and appreciating) is absolutely necessary to drive success.
2. “Success” is a very loosely-based term and is one of the top questions that marketers have today. Do not solely measure success on numbers.
3. Social media has an extremely high level of time commitment. However, the more time spent and experience gained the bigger the pay out in the end. So don’t give up!
4. If there are any four things that get out of this blog post its: Be genuine. Be transparent. Listen. Communicate.

How do you measure success? Share your own thoughts in the comment box!

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