couple-fighting-on-couchAs a social media user, let me tell you, my honeymoon with social media is over. I’m no longer dazzled by your posts or impressed with your gimmicks to make me like your page and retweet your tweets. I see straight through your free coupons and your pretty pictures.

So stop.

Stop selling me your product, your company, or your agenda.

Am I saying your company shouldn’t use social media? No. I’m saying your social media strategy, like any other content strategy, should be user focused. User focused content brings the right people to your site. User focused content builds credibility. User focused content ultimately leads to money in your pocket. content_is_fire-386460

Here’s the thing. Everyone distrusts you. Before you can even try to build trust, you have to help tear down the distrust. You aren’t starting at zero; you’re starting with negative numbers. And in a news feed, you’re competing with a user’s friends and family. The fact that social media is personal makes the trust issue even harder.

Think about brands you trust. Then think about why you trust them. You know what they all have in common? Customer service.

Last week a new client, a manufacturer, told me that the company’s main goal for their website was to find out what problem they could help solve for their customers. And I started singing hallelujah because they understood. They understood that in order to build a reliable brand they need good customer service. They understood that it’s harder for people to end a relationship than break a contract.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed a disconnect between social media and customer service. Hubspot created an app that makes social media interactions more human in addition to a bevy of blog posts around a theme of social media becoming more of a service than a soapbox.

Jay Baer calls this idea of helping instead of selling “youtility.” He says, “The balance of marketing power has swung dramatically in favor of the customer,” and he’s right. Shift your focus outward, and stop trying to convince your customers how great your product/company/agenda is. Instead, find out what you can do to help.

A great example of “youtility” is Hilton Suggests, a virtual concierge on Twitter 24/7. Hilton Suggests helps people find things that make their travel easier, whether that means recommending the best beach, coffee, or burgers.

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So find the “social” aspect of social media once more. Be genuine and selfless, even in your tweets, and you’ll build a reputation on loyalty and trust.

Autumn Nicholson – Project Manager

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