It’s not unusual for me to get asked by fellow colleagues, friends, business owners, and non-profit organizations the following: “How do we connect with our audience/customers social media?” In the old days before the birth of social media, the way to connect with a desired target market was restricted to a few mediums—print, television, event marketing, and radio. It use to be simple, straight forward, and didn’t require much mental brain power.
Well, the days of marketing simplicity ended when Google, social media, and Big Data hit the scene. A plethora of detailed real-time online consumer behavior metrics, the exponential rise of mobile internet usage, apps, and instantaneous global interconnectivity is what arrived on the digital scene like Pandora’s Box to the amazement (and shock) of many marketers.
Similarly, it was like an invisible Prometheus arrived and gave a gift far greater than fire to humankind. The result, you may ask? Marketers inundated in the old-school ways of the pre-internet era have struggled (many at great expense) while those who have adapted to the new-school methods of social media were gaining with increased revenues, reduced administrative costs, etc.
In economics, this is classically called “comparative advantage” and is almost directly correlated to when firms adopt the use of new technology… especially when that technology has minimal barriers of use while having a ubiquitous usage by consumers. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest would be prime examples of the previous statement.
Within the framework of social media exists one intrinsic timeless variable that is so steeped in the psychological human condition that it still bewilders even the sharpest of marketers at times. That variable is simply defined as “being socially engaging”. Basically, most consumers and people using social media want to be involved. Using posts, “tweets”, “pins”, “likes”, and other forms of passive online actions, they are allowed to choose what they want to consume.
Sure, we could go deeper and extrapolate further by getting into catharsis, transference, and other psychological categories as a way to dive further into specifics, but that’s not really necessary. To do so would be like asking a musical composer the structural analytical reasons why he or she writes each note and each rhythm, when in fact, the composer just writes by feeling; not strictly by equation.
This is why most marketers in today’s social-based marketing are finding themselves playing the role of the composer, or more aptly put, “social composer”, where they create meaningful content for their audiences as a means to engage them. This is how both of my marketing companies, MDI:3 and Experience San Pedro perceive our use of social media to engage our audience.
Just like the musical equivalent, a social composer of online content must first be a good listener of his or her target audience(s). Secondly, a social composer must be able to engage by creating “social notes (content)” by crafting those social notes into various forms, styles, and rhythms that resonate with their listeners. Third, a social composer must be able to interpret and monitor their metric in a meaningful way that can be applied. This is very similar to how a composer utilizes his or her knowledge of music theory and analysis as a way of creating music which functions in a logical way.
The social music doesn’t stop there either, since consumers also weave their own social notes into what the social composer crafts online. Many companies fail at engaging their audiences because they don’t reply or give feedback to those audiences via social media. At Experience San Pedro, we make sure to respond to our audience in a timely manner, and that’s one of the reasons our level of engagement is very high. At our parent company, MDI:3, we apply the same social media philosophy and strategy for our clients and their respective audiences.
In the grand scheme of things, we envision our social media channels (especially our Facebook page) like an orchestra where we, along with our audience, share the conductor’s social podium for the content we compose and perform together.
What do you think about the analogy of being a "Social Composer?" How else can businesses connect with their audience?
Christoff Elce is the cofounder/principal of marketing companies MDI:3 and Experience San Pedro, both based in San Pedro, CA. He is also a sought after consultant and requested guest presenter for a wide range of industries on the topic of internet marketing. In his spare time, he enjoys being a rock guitarist, writing, cooking, and drinking the occasional pint of Guinness for inspiration at The Whale & Ale, located in San Pedro.