Value is a term that is often tossed around, mostly from people trying to sell you things. For me, value is about what I learn, grow or get enjoyment from – and that is a pretty broad set of standards. In the fast-paced, often vapid-seeming world of social media though, the question we should ALL be asking is “What VALUE does my social media bring to my customers lives?”
Without knowing what value we bring to our customers on social media, how can we expect them to engage with our activities online? How can we expect them to share a post, tag a friend or refer your services to someone else without value?
Value is a fairly lofty concept and can take many forms. It can be entertainment, and it seems many companies are choosing to take this route with their social. Memes as far as the eye can see, inspirational quotes, funny pictures, all loosely tied back to what the company does. And there is validity in this approach – it engages the customer in the short term, and may get a laugh out of them, showcasing the entertainment value, but is this the best way to engage a customer in meaningful interaction with your business? Probably not.
Depending on your business, overt selling can also deliver value. For food and beverage businesses, the value you bring to a client might be in a sale, special offer or great discount on product, which will always encourage people to follow you online, if only to see what the special is this week. But in my experience, customers won’t continue to engage if you simply bombard them with offers constantly, and it can be quite detrimental to the bottom line of your business to always be offering discounts.
And then there’s always thought leadership – where a longer format piece of content, written with passion, interest and an intimate knowledge of the industry is shared via blog or a third-party website. And there is value here too – you educate your reader, you share your insights and assert your knowledge, showcasing why you are the best at what you do. But will this always hit the mark, will customers see the value in this at 5pm on a Friday? Probably not.
The best approaches that I see in social media combine all the above approaches to deliver value to their clients. I believe that the best way to truly deliver value to your customers, whomever they might be, is to know them. If you know that your ideal client is wanting to learn more about the industry, share that with them during a peak work-related social check – 9am is a sweet spot for LinkedIn as everyone comes in and checks their feed before they check their emails. If your ideal customer loves their Friday drinks, engage with them and show them that you understand their lives by sharing a relevant meme on a Friday. And don’t forget that a core function of your social media should always be to drive to conversion – so incorporate sales posts as part of your content strategy to ensure that you do create deliverables and returns on your investment in a social media program.
By mixing the different ways we can measure value through your social media content calendar, you have a chance to engage with your customers in their real world, and really deliver value to them – no matter when or how they measure that.