Why it matters what you ate for breakfast
I was recently doing business in the US when a potential client for a large organization asked about the value of social media. He said a prominent person posted something on Twitter akin to “Wow, the sun finally came out today. I want to get to some long overdue gardening”. His point was, who cares and why should his followers be subjected to such pointless drivel?
I’m going to use two examples to illustrate the value of needless information in social media:
It always astounds me how celebrity gossip magazines/blogs stay in business. But they do because there are millions of people out there who care what Brangelina ate today, where they went, what they bought at the store. And when a celebrity starts a twitter account, look out! Millions of followers are ready and willing to read when their last bowel movements were.
How many of us look forward to Super Bowl ads? Have you ever noticed that some of the best ads that we enjoy watching do not sell with information or logic? They often sell with emotion and humor - two powerful weapons of any marketer. We don’t enjoy them because they gave us information and told us about their product in a direct manner, we enjoy them because they entertain us, and over time we associate their brand with positive feelings.
Social Media can build your brand
So to answer the question; Who cares what you ate for breakfast? Everyone who follows you does. If they have cared to subscribe to your content, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Four Square or any other social network you use for your company, then people care about what you are doing.
Does that mean they are necessarily going to comment or respond any time you make small talk that is weather, food, travel related? Not really. Sure, constantly talking about irrelevant personal data will get annoying and people will stop following you. The key is to mix it up and be yourself, just like you would if you were talking to someone in person.
Talk about things that matter to you and throw in a few trivial statements about whatever you happen to be thinking about. If you’re funny in real life, then be funny on the web. Some posts can be informative, some can be direct self-promotion, and others can be statements on the weather.
What’s the point you may ask? If someone is following your posts, then small talk shows that you’re human, that you have feelings and that you don’t just use Facebook to talk about new deals you’re offering. And the more someone trusts you and associates your brand with positive things like gardening in the spring, or enjoying a fine ale at the local pub, then the more likely they are to give you a call when they need work done, or visit your site to buy products. That is just marketing, and the principles haven’t changed just because social media came along.