—————-Think back a bit on the evolution of email. When email first came around, wasn’t it just a intended to be an electronic letter (Oh that’s right, that “e” stood for something.)? A faster way to convey the same amount of information that would have otherwise been transmitted via “snail?” Well, yes. But then something happened. Email became a tool for marketers, to transmit ads… and for a while, people paid attention… and then we all got sick of looking at our inboxes. Enter CAN-SPAM regulation which led to marketers jumping hurdles of deliverability in the midst of internet and webmail service providers changing their rules about SPAM messages (I’ll delve into email best practices another time.). At the same time, those marketers struggled (and still do!) with trying to figure out what works to get their prospective customer’s attention (also, another time).
—————-So what does this have to do with social media and the way we think? Well, once established, popular communication platforms develop somewhat of a “chicken or the egg” scenario. The platform yields the format, which in turn forces the user to think within specific boundaries. So, if Twitter only allows 140 characters, language has to be adapted for effective communication, and users have to seriously pare down a message to the bare essentials. Same goes for Facebook. While there isn’t so much a character limit ruling how much can be said at once (although Facebook does truncate lengthy posts), users can quickly see which types of messages get more attention and begin self-editing to post status updates, comments, and rich content posts that are witty and more likely to get a response. In addition, users of these platforms have inadvertently become self-marketerers, marketing their own brand. They are savvy, they are familiar with what’s catchy and popular, and they want to have their voices heard.
—————-As marketers, how do we step into this new way of thinking without falling on our faces? Here’s the good news: hopefully we already have an edge with quick quips. Appropriate initial steps would be:
- Choosing a platform that matches where our target demographics spend the majority of their social web time. (Last I checked, platform demographic info could be found easily by poking around the web.)
- Improving upon and abbreviating stiff marketing copy to become more transparent, more approachable, with a voice that is interesting, humorous, AND useful to our fans/followers. One that cuts through the static of all the other updates that flow through their social media feeds.
- Responding thoughtfully to comments, posts, and even negative feedback as we start to grow our fan/follower exposure.
- Studying what gains response among our target demographics and tailoring our messages to those groups.