When we think about social media marketing, we generally have the following mindset:

I need to get lots of people to interact, share and buy my stuff.

Now let’s consider the mindset of an individual who is subconsciously marketing to their friends:

I know Jenny, Mark and Brian will love this picture!

The keywords here are needing and knowing. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew the content we work so hard on would be loved and not disregarded? Some people are naturally awesome content creators and have excellent traction rates. But for most of us, social marketing can be a crapshoot.

Take a moment to look at Google’s Trend Visualizer  and enjoy this refreshing reassurance:

People are always seeking information

But how can we use this super-general statement to our advantage?

Identify and learn what your people are searching for

What do you mean “your people?”

Your fans, followers, commenters, consumers, friends, and family. Stop thinking of them as a community, public, or an audience. They all have a voice.

But we’ve tried this! We’ve tried the actual advice mallard meme, the beautiful infographics, and the magnificent blog!

Have you tried asking them what they want?

Of course we have…well, not yet, but we’ve been doing what our competitors are doing and it’s working really well for them! If we’re in a situation like this, we need a new mindset. To develop a new mindset, we must be willing to learn, adapt, and install new habits.

Here’s a quote from Brandon Rhoten, Director of Digital Marketing for Wendy’s;

“The world is changing around you and you need to adjust — that’s why we care about social listening. We need to learn what people want from us and what products we should sell. Social listening helps us decide what our brand should be.”

As one of the most powerful modern research strategies, social listening shows us opinions, sentiments, and needs. Taking strides in our field means taking advantage of this public and personal information for mutual benefits. Here’s a checklist to lay the groundwork for building a new social marketing mindset:


check mark Organize a profile for each social network community. For example:

  • Twitter followers: 5,500
  • Preferred content: deals, discounts, freebies
  • Location: Majority in NYC
  • Super-fans: mattjones22, stacyb13, etc…
  • Best publishing time: Tues/Thurs mornings @ 9am

check mark Devalue your over-arching business goal a few notches. Focus on creating real relationships with your community. For example:

  • A Facebook user comments, “I just lost my brand new [enter your product here]” Turn this into a promotional opportunity. Send this user a private and personalized message offering to mail them a new product and throwing in a few tips so they don’t lose it again. Go back to the original comment and publish something simple, “Sorry to hear that! No worries, we’ve just sent you a new product. Expect it next week J” This publicizes a good deed which might be more valuable than meeting a post quota.
  • By focusing on real relationships, business goals can be met in more natural social marketing. It’s great for brand image and opens up a dialogue with communities.

check mark Consistency with quality over quantity. This has been the overly preached phrase since Google’s algorithm updates over the past couple years. However, it’s rather difficult to make the switch from quota-focused training and goals. Here are reasons why it’s hard, accompanied by ways to overcome them.

  • Writing quality is catered to churning out quick posts. This forces people to spin content. Tip: Try to write a headline for an opinionated article. Focus on the article framework with relevant headings and start writing. The trick? Don’t click the internet once. Don’t give up on being original. Once the article is completed, it will be much easier to go back and fill in relevant links.
  • Post quality has degraded to aggregation.

Tip: Use the preferred content benchmark for your community network or consult super-fans to develop the framework of a quality post. Allocate some budget to build upon this framework if there are no in-house developers/designers. Sites like Odesk, Freelancer, and 99 designs are easy ways to outsource.

  • Organizations create quality content when the focus isn’t strictly a numbers game. Step away from the quotas and start connecting with real people to learn their behaviors, patterns, likes and dislikes.

This checklist will not instantly transform your thinking; however, it will surely set the stage for a new mindset. This allows us to reshape our social landscape. People may feel more inclined to ask questions on our networks now or tweet product suggestions at our handle. We may discover platforms such as Reddit or Vine are going to be more effective and engaging than our mediocre Facebook campaigns.

With a new social marketing mindset, our business goals are still achievable – just in a way that genuinely benefits our people.  Most importantly, we’re giving people a new and improved experience.

Never forget the golden rule.

Thanks for reading! I’m interested in your social marketing mindset and how you approach creating content for your people. Please feel free to share below!