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Are You Building or Do You Just Own the Tools?
Facebook and Twitter are just tools your brand can use to build something. Just “being on them” means nothing. It’s like owning a hammer. So what? What are you going to build with that hammer and the other tools you own? That’s what you should be asking yourself. Too many people think of social media platforms as the end game–it’s not. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: social media is just dumb pipes (dumb as in dumbphone versus smartphone) without smart content.
Allow me to include a short paragraph from an awesome new book I picked up called The Impact Equation which expresses exactly this sentiment much better than I can write: “Okay, so congratulations, you now have a Twitter account. Unfortunately, we don’t care. You are not on our radar. You are not on our map. There is a big blank space where your name should be in the dictionary, and even if it were there, nobody would look it up. Nobody knows your name or has a reason to look for you, or even if they do, it doesn’t matter, because you’re boring.” Exactly.
Finding the person who is going to respond to you just “being on” Facebook, Twitter, Tout, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc… is like finding a needle in a haystack. How are your conversion rates? Conversely, building a smart content marketing plan is like building a haystack made of needles. Yes it is that powerful because it is targeted. People come to you, you don’t have to go to them. What am I trying to tell you? Have a strategy, a plan with an actual target audience with goals and real concrete steps you can take to actually get people interested in what you are doing.
I’ll bring up one of my favorite examples of two companies with very different strategies. First take a look at CliffNotes and then take a look at SparkNotes. Both have decent websites designs, right? But focus in on the SparkLife section of the SparkNotes site: it’s chock full of useful targeted content that their audience would eat up. If you look closely, the URL for SparkLife is community.sparklife.com. Interesting. Guess what? It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with notes… it’s just good, solid content that would appeal to high-school students. Why? Isn’t it obvious? When people spend time with a brand it builds up trust. Trust is brand currency. The more trust you can build with your audience the more likely it is that they will buy into whatever you are selling (a message or an actual product). I’ve made a video describing this whole process. Check it out here.