You Get What You Give

5 Social Media Principles Learned from Merlin Ward

I often buy more books and audiobooks than I can handle, and they end up sitting in my library for a while. This past week I did some sort of a “book sprint” trying to catch up and one of the books I had in my list was “You Get What You Give” Social Media Principles and Strategies for Branding, Customer Service, Community, Innovation and Sale” written by Merlin U. Ward.

The audiobook went by quickly, it’s well narrated and has lots of best social media best practices and interesting stories and examples. Here are the top 5 principles I found the most valuable to what I do:

1- Start by Giving.

Social media is a “you get what you give” ecosystem. Do you want more? Then you must give more. Giving more includes entertainment, education and even just good feelings. Get curious about your audience’s interests (outside of your products and brand) and you’ll discover what makes them tick and what they have in common as a community. Your brand can use these findings to help tie your community together and draw your audience closer to your brand.

Be interested in other people and you will become interesting.

2 – Viral Content is Not Your Goal.

Your content is your vehicle for creating real connections with your audience. A good piece of content does not need to go viral.

Viral content isn’t always good content, nor does it always reflect your brand.

Your goal should not be to create the next viral video or most-shared Facebook post. As nice as it would be to have an explosive amount of impressions on your creative content, it should not be the quantifier of your success. The goal is to create meaningful content that brings value and build trust with your community.

3 – Don’t Please Everyone

One thing that’s crucial in your social presence is to show your values and how much they align with the ones of your audience. This doesn’t mean that you need to please everyone, but your brand should not be afraid to take a stand on issues like global events, politics, and use humor and sarcasm as needed.

These brand values, of course, need to be consistent across all the marketing communication. Sticking to your guns will eliminate mediocrity, and the audience that feels most aligned with you will support you all the way.

Mediocre is honestly the worst perception your audience could have of your brand.

4 – Have a Special Voice

Your brand bell rings a special tone. Little nuances set it apart from the noisy world. Your audience relates to your voice. They may not always agree with your brand, but they will look beyond the small disagreements and continue to support your brand much like they do with their friends.

You want your audience to visit your channel for the emotions your brand evokes within them.

The Branding Strategy works with your audience’s emotions and a successful Branding Strategy begins with a great understanding of your brand. It requires your brand to have a distinct way of reacting to your competition and supplemental brands.

5 – Be Human

New platforms and applications are emerging every year on the Internet and the challenge is to become part of those conversations is ways that are meaningful and add value to your audience’s daily lives.

Act with human qualities and with human interests that create a sense of connection and belonging. You need to engage your audience, be committed to learn about them and really, really care about them.

Don’t opt-in to your content, but instead entertain, inspire and empower them.

The audience comes first; the message comes second.

Remember that it takes time to make a friend and be trusted, and the same way it takes time to build relationships with your audience but with good intent and consistency it will eventually happen and it will help you realize your business goals as well.

If this was a value to you please share it with your audience now! ;)





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