Inclusion is the secret sauce of social media. It’s one of the biggest opportunities. We can fill that sense of a need to belong. Social media allows for this.
Before you get all “gee whiz” about that, or think that it’s something too touchy-feely, realize that what humans want more than most things is validation. When we look at ads, the biggest emotion we tend to feel is, “I’m the type of person who would have that.” It’s this sense that we need to be included.
But advertising and marketing quite often leaves people feeling left out.
Invite Them In
Your community is a gift. Loyal connectivity between whatever you represent and the people who are drawn to it is a huge boon that you must nurture and feed. This leads to the business you’re so hoping to attain.
Think about it: would you rather 10,000 dispassionate people swing by, and maybe 50 make a purchase, or would you rather 300 really loyal people stick around, buy from you when the products make sense, and tell their friends how they’re part of something?
Really think about that for a moment.
Part of Something
These tools like Facebook aren’t places to put your coupons and your deals. They’re places for you to interact, to answer questions, to support people’s causes. Twitter is a chance to understand your buyers’ moods in between purchases, to support their goals, to listen to their concerns.
It’s fascinating how many businesses pay for customer opinion surveys but don’t listen to the free opinions given via the social web. Dip into a tool like Radian6 and you start to understand sentiment, percentage of conversation, and even more. Use even free tools to grow bigger ears and you’ve got the chance to understand people in many actionable dimensions.
Keep The Fires Warm
The environment of social media is quite often the cocktail party before the sale. It’s a chance to include people, to invite them in, to get to know them. And not because they’re a buyer, but because they’re people who’ve expressed an interest, and who might lead to even more serendipitous opportunities.
On a very personal note, I’m writing this from a conference ( SOBCon) where the opportunities are often a few years from when you first met the person, but where the intensity of those opportunities brings a whole new level of appreciation for what it means to belong to something. There’s no better sense of belonging than what you get from being part of something like SOBCon or PodCamp or Podcasters Across Borders. And that’s what has to happen with your social media and related efforts, online or offline.
Help others stay included. It’s worth gold (of many kinds).
By the way, the photographer for this photo above, Eric Albee, has some great snaps.