I just had an “AHA moment” about using social media for marketing. It’s not just about promoting yourself or your company – it’s about helping people.
This may not seem like the stuff of memoirs to you, but it was big for me.
I’m always deliberating over what social media is for, and the best ways to use it, since I use social media both personally and for our clients.
Is social media for building community? Connecting with people of similar interests or in your industry? Developing brand reputation? Or is social media simply for fun and the occasional rant?
Social media is for helping others
It was at Searchfest – a day long digital marketing conference put on by SEMpdx – that I heard the speech that shifted my thinking.
Wil talked about how he has turned to social media when he’s needed help solving tough work problems. One time, he put out a request for help on Google+ at 5 pm on a Saturday. By the end of day, people in Wil’s Google+ circles had provided him with the help he needed. Wil has also found experts to hire by putting out calls for help on Twitter.
Wil ended his talk with a plea that we all reach out and help each other in social media. Hey, it can even get you a new gig!
It’s not like what Wil was saying is new – I’ve always felt it’s good to reach out and offer help to people in other areas of my life. But this is the first time I really made the connection to helping people in social media – and for REAL, not pretend.
It’s just as possible – and just as important – to build strong community in the digital world as it is in the “real” world.
Social Media: Doing well by doing good works here too!
What’s true in social media can carry over into all areas of marketing. If you give people what they really need or solve a problem for them, it will work out well for you more often than not. You might get referrals, new leads, or an actual sale.
Pushing the point still further, Copyblogger’s Jonathon Morrow says helping people is the only reason for business. Isn’t that our role as marketers? To show people something that can help them?
So look out world – here comes the Mother Theresa of Social Media!
Meg Hartley is an account manager for AboutUs where she helps clients with their social media and blog content creation and strategy.
Get in touch with her on Twitter: @meg_hartley.