How to wind up your customers using social media …

I’ve just seen an interesting survey from Disruptive Communications, who have asked over 1,000 people of various age groups what most annoys them about social media messages or marketing.  The results may be surprising.

I was intrigued, given the relatively lax attitude to the disciplines nowadays, that the number one gripe was spelling and grammar.  Over 40% of readers will be wound up if you write badly although, as you may expect, the older generations will be more put out than the younger.

A quarter of your audience will be alienated by overt attempts to flog them stuff.  Personally, I would have thought that this would have been the biggest turn-off, so the grammar thing has surprised me (and I’m well-known for being a grammar pedant, in my own household at least!)

In some areas, of course, you just can’t win no matter what you do – you will upset 13% of your audience if you post too often, as well as upsetting 7% if you don’t post often enough.  It can be a thankless task, this social media game.  Given that you will annoy half as many people through posting infrequently as you will by overdoing it, the message appears to be to keep quiet unless you have something useful to say.

Finally, we are not all PG Wodehouse or Douglas Adams or [insert name of favourite humorous writer], so trying too hard to be funny is a cardinal sin in social media – 12.5% of people will not be amused.

Don’t overdo it!

So to what conclusion does this information lead?  (For the 40% – that’s the correct way to form the sentence, as opposed to ‘So what conclusion does this information lead to?‘  See what I mean?  I can be a real pedant!)

It tells me that social media marketing is not about selling – why would you advertise via a medium that will leave at least 25% of your market peeved by the fact that you have tried to sell them something?

In fact, it’s about presenting a human face, and it’s about building relationships with your potential customers.  Do this by telling them who you are, and what your values are – not explicitly (as that could be weird) but naturally, in the course of conversation, as it were.

Also, whilst social media can be a ‘numbers game’, it isn’t just about getting the maximum exposure for your product or service.  Surely it’s better to produce a small number of genuine results than to have your posts seen or liked by thousands of people in a meaningless and disconnected way?  Note I use the word ‘seen’ and not the word ‘read’.  Give some value, and engage with those people that appreciate that fact – in time your reputation will be enhanced, as will the loyalty of your readers.

Party Animal

I’ve said it before, but it will bear repeating – social media is like a cocktail party.  You don’t blaze into a party and launch into a sales pitch for your latest offering, or at least I hope you don’t.  If you do, please reply to this post, and I will ensure you aren’t invited to any parties of mine.

What you do is have a bit of general chit-chat about stuff, and then possibly you mention a bit about what you do for a living, but then you change the subject again to something a bit more interesting.  Perhaps some weeks or months down the road, the person you met and spoke to may be looking (for example) for a website, and he might recall, “There was that bloke at the party that was quite entertaining to chat to – he seemed decent enough.  Didn’t he do websites, or something?  Maybe I’ll ask him.”

So, as with many things in life, it’s all about people.  Interact and connect in an interesting and constructive way, and business may well result.  Not today and probably not tomorrow, but someday – and on that day you will be glad that you weren’t pushy and that you paid attention to your spelling.

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