Getting Started with Social Media: So Easy a Chimp Can Do It

It All Starts with Listening

Jane Goodall had the right idea when she immersed herself in the world of Chimpanzees before she started interacting with them. The only way to understand and learn from them was to first live in their world, learn their habits and come to know them before she could imagine actually interacting with them.

We as marketers could learn from Goodall’s example. In the fast-paced world of social media with constant change, new features and the latest thing becoming yesterday’s news before you can blink, it’s easy to forget that successful social media strategy isn’t about the tools. It’s about understanding the people with whom you want to communicate, listening and putting the tools to the side for a bit.

Listening Pays Off

The easiest way to spread your message organically online is to connect with online influencers. The term “influencers” is thrown around a lot, but those influencers are different for every brand. They are the individuals who have the potential (or already are) to become brand advocates and share their love for you with others.

The knowledge of who you are talking to, where they are talking and what makes them share and engage allows marketers to develop meaningful interactions with them, and they will be more than willing to share your meaningful interactions with others. This means that we need to understand two things:

  1. How people consume content
  2. What makes them share it with others

Taking an Influential Approach

People are online to connect with each other because they gain value from their interactions with each other. They converse back-and-forth, and an influencer becomes influential by being a resource, someone who responds to questions and needs. An influencer delivers meaningful content, which ultimately leads to him or her becoming an authority. In the end people come back to them again and again because they’ve developed a trusting relationship.

Brands can learn a lot from this approach:

  1. Listen to understand what others are looking for
  2. Become a resource by providing meaningful content
  3. Be an authority on something
  4. Be conversational to build ongoing relationships

Be the Jane Goodall of Social Media

All of this means listening before engaging, so what should you be looking for?

  • Where do your consumers or potential consumers go?
  • Who do they connect with?
  • What do they say?
  • How do they share?
  • What influences them?
  • What is their personality like?
  • What kind of language do they use?
  • Are there any cultural differences outside of what you’re used to dealing with?
  • What are the tools they use to communicate?

Are You Listening?

Now the question is, what are you doing? Take a look at your social communication channels (if you have them). If you are simply broadcasting, it’s time to go back to listening, and if you haven’t started, it’s time to start. There are a lot of tools out there to help with this, so identify your consumers and start searching the Web. Google Search is a great way to start. Otherwise, you can look into a professional tool like Radian6 to dig deeper.