Imagine you’re hanging out with friends at the park before your kid’s baseball game. High-Fives abound. You see some new people. Suddenly you see Bob.

“Hey! Bob! How’s it going?”

“Great, Brendan! I just opened a new shoe store! Over 50 brand names of running shoes! We have a custom sizer, a full line of insoles, and more. You should buy some sneakers.”

“That’s great, Bob. Next time I need shoes, I’ll come see you.”

Bob sees another friend and heads off in pursuit. “Hey! Charlie! I just opened a new shoe store!”

Relieved to be rid of Bob, you spy Emma. She’s cute, and friendly, too.

“Hey! Emma!”

“Hey, Brendan! I’ve expanded my salon! Two new stylists, the latest line of hair care products, and we’ve started doing scalp massage therapy. When are you coming in?”

“Well, I just got my hair cut, so when I start getting shaggy again…”

“I’m doing an introductory offer. Visit now and you’ll get a free scalp massage. When can I pencil you in?”

“Well…”

Seems like sort of a hard sell and somewhat out of place, doesn’t it?

That’s because it is.

Humans are social creatures. It’s natural for us to surround ourselves with like-minded people. We form a sense of community. Social media is no different. It’s a community, and there’s a reason we call it ‘social.’ Too often, businesses mistake social media channels for pure advertising platforms. They miss the outreach and engagement aspect. They aren’t social and don’t participate in the community.

Cue the “Unfollow” button.

68% of consumers in America ignore brands on social media, and over 80% said that an experience with a brand on social left a bad taste in their mouth. Just 32% even trust online advertising.

Instead of talking at people, brands should strive to talk with them. It’s a conversation.

It’s perfectly acceptable to crow about your running shoes or scalp massage prowess, but do it with some creative copy or cool pictures. Share articles or information that might provide some value to your followers. Heck – post a cute cat video every once in a while.

The important thing is that social media is huge, and has become a vital part of our every day lives. In addition to being a crucial link to friends and family, it’s a powerful tool for sharing information and a great platform for businesses.

But use this power wisely.

Take part. Engage. Like someone else’s post. Comment on something. If someone comments on your post, reply to them! Become part of the community. Participate in the conversation. Be Social!

If you don’t believe in the power of social media, watch the short video below. Those are some impressive numbers.

 

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Brendan's our second-tallest employee. He's also pretty darned good with branding, strategy, and saxophone.
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