So often the conversation around the societal shift social media has caused leads down the road of empowering consumers and putting consumers on an even playing field with the once omnipotent powers that we know as the media. I couldn't agree more, but what's often overlooked is that social media also puts small brands on the same level as the big guys.
"How do they have 200,000 followers when we can't get above 36,000?" or "We're fun! Why wouldn't they like us?" Social media leaves brands scratching their heads when their vision of success isn't met. As brands compare their social media presences with their peers and competitors the question of "What do they have that we don't?" inevitably comes up.
Social media has knocked brands down a few rungs on the ladder. It makes us humble. It makes us reevaluate our assets. Social media puts us back in high school, wondering why we don't have what it takes to sit at the "cool kids' table."
Success won't come to any brand unless a mind shift takes place. Humility is something worth embracing to a degree. It's a powerful tool in pointing your brand in the right direction for a few reasons.
Relationships Take Time.
No relationship worth any value has ever formed over night. Relationships take time offline and online. A brand can't expect to have advocates right away. It's about proving your value, proving yourself as a resource and fulfilling a void that needed filling.
The work that needs to go into a relationship should never be far from a marketer's mind. Bring value to the relationship, and when you find that value, don't overdo it. You wouldn't call a girl over and over after a first date (or would you?). Don't be overbearing. Be patient. Invest the time.
Give and Take, Not a Take and Take.
Decades of distributing messages through one-way communication has spoiled us. Businesses have gotten comfortable crafting messages, pushing them out and waiting for the sales. Success in the social media space means brands can no longer just think about themselves. They have to offer value and make their customers the stars.
Honesty with Yourself.
That quality that separates your brand from the ones you aspire to emulate may not be what they have. You may have a deficiency. Be honest with the challenges your business faces in terms of category, brand image, internal barriers and external perceptions. What can you focus on? As is the case with every child, every brand is special as well. Don't be something you aren't. Win where you can, and prevent the battles you can't.
The Value of Humility.
Social media requires us to reevaluate ourselves and go out of our way in terms of availability, messaging and content value. The good news is social media allows us to take humility and honesty with our shortcomings and showcase our points-of-difference and bring them to life in the social space.