Jessica Henkel, Associate Account Executive, Palio
It’s Leap Day! The last day of the month of love. We’ve eaten the candy, given and received the Valentine’s Day cards, and are thankfully done stressing out about what to buy our significant others.
Love is still in the air! But is it in your social media effort?
It’s a more important question than you might think, because what we know about love – that most powerful and social of emotions – can teach us a lot about what does and doesn’t work in social media.
You love what you take care of; people love what takes care of them. In a relationship, that might mean things like remembering purple is her favorite color or making sure the pizza place leaves the mushrooms off your order. In social media, it means listening to and honoring your users’ preferences, treating them as individuals rather than a set of aggregated eyeballs and communicating with them in a one-to-one tone. Think remembering your fans’ birthdays or other little touches don’t matter? Think again.
People in love like to talk. “People compose poetry, novels, sitcoms for love,” says Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and something of the Queen Mum of romance research. “They live for love, die for love, kill for love. It can be stronger than the drive to stay alive.” The easy-to-see social media metaphor is that committed fans love to talk about your brand. However, relationships are a two-way street. Think about the brand talking to the committed fans, giving them reason to extend the conversation. Are you writing them sincere messages and making them feel special?
Love is not a static thing. It has stages, and how you react at each stage matters. The things you say on a first date are not the things you say to a spouse of 20 years; the familiarity of a long-term relationship allows you to do more – and learn more – in every conversation. In social media, the wisdom of Seth Godin’s groundbreaking 1990s book, Permission Marketing, often gets left by the side of the road in the search to wholesale sign up thousands of Facebook or Twitter followers. But the way you talk to a long-time fan or customer isn’t – or shouldn’t be – the way you talk to someone who’s just signed up for more information. Be polite, ask for information incrementally and provide lots of opportunities for feedback along the way. Take this approach and you’ll end up with committed fans that you actually know about and have the right information to hit their sweet spots.
“I love you, but not like that” doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends. If we’re drawing parallels between social media and romantic love, then it’s worth pointing out another parallel as well: Know when you’re in the “friendzone,” and live with it. Some perfectly good customers won’t become passionate fans. Others will be passionate fans but won’t want your never-ending tweets or wall posts. And all of this is OK – as long as you don’t become creepy. And what’s creepy in social media? Ignoring opt-outs and communications-frequency preferences, endless “we want you back” drip marketing and keeping the same isn’t-all-this-just-great tone after a user has a bad experience.
So on the last day of the month of love – sit back and think about really making a connection. You might be surprised at the results.
Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.