Stop thinking of your customers only as an open rate, click-through rate, or conversion.
In social media, the universal language of love thrives. No, I'm not turning to poetry or getting mushy. It's just a simple reminder that life's secrets can be transferred to what we do online and in social etiquette.
And these lessons, which struck me during my international travels, hold true for all languages and cultures.
From Hong Kong to Germany, we all share similar problems and pursue similar solutions. And that lesson hit me square in the face while giving a workshop on behalf of the Online Marketing Institute in Berlin. There, a very smart marketer from a Fortune 50 company raised her hand and asked, "Why is it so hard to get my customers to engage?" In the back of the room, another fellow Berliner chimed in, "I don't like Facebook. Why do I have to keep trying to communicate to my clients there?" That was followed by the question, "When will Germans adopt social media in a greater way?"
At that point, I quickly recalled that the same sentiments were expressed in China, London, and San Diego, underscoring how there are consistent and universal issues we all face.
When responding to the inquiries from marketers in Berlin, this thought of "love" just came out. "It's like a relationship, no different from your spouse or family member, the more you know about them, the more you listen to them, the more you give them something they want…and you guessed it, the more you love them, the more love you'll get back."
To that, I think we need to start talking about customers and prospects as people and not as ice cold metrics. So I turn the conversation to the most human of elements - love. Here are my three lessons of love and how to apply them to getting some real ROI love back to your digital marketing and social media efforts.
Lesson No. 1: Give Some Love to Get Some Love
To get your customers or prospects engaged, you must give them something they want - something of value: education, a free giveaway, a tip, etc. To do this right, you must listen to you customer and really look at what they are talking about on Twitter and Facebook. So you might ask: "How do I know what my customers consider valuable?" Well, just ask them.
Remember: your customers are people just like you. So start thinking of them as people and not just as an open rate, click-through rate, or conversion.
Lesson No. 2: You Can't Be Loved Till You Show the Love
If you need a refresher on how the online and social medium works, let me remind you: it's a communication channel, not just an informational distribution channel. To communicate, you need to open a conversation, a two-way dialogue, and show some personality, empathy, and passion. So figure out what you, your department, or your organization is passionate and "human" about and start sharing that passion and energy to help others see the light. If you don't love your product or topic, then you should not be posting or communicating on it, as positive and negative energy emanate from even one's writing.
Lesson No. 3: You Have to Love Yourself Before You Can Be Loved
If you don't like being on Facebook or find it a chore to tweet, you may want to find someone else to do it or outsource that responsibility to your agency. Do what you love, and then write, tweet, and post about it. If you are not in it for the right reasons, that will quickly show through. So get the right social media heroes in your organization and turn them loose. You do not have to shoulder the entire responsibility just because your boss said so.
Humanize your efforts in social media. Do more listening and understanding of what customers want, find your passion, and then let the energy loose in the great communication tool that is online.
Live, love, and help others live and love more.
After selling the Online Marking Summit (OMS) event company in 2011, Aaron is now leading the charge of the newest venture, the Online Marketing Institute - an e-learning platform and training destination for digital marketing education.
Kahlow is one of the most recognized thought-leaders in the digital marketing and social media space. Having founded, funded, and built three prolific and highly profitable digital marketing companies, Kahlow has also delivered hundreds of marquee keynote speeches around the globe. He is a recognized author, columnist (ClickZ, NYT) and authority on social media marketing, sales and marketing integration, demand generation, business-to-business marketing, search marketing, usability, analytics, and digital marketing strategy.
Today, Aaron can be found in his new home city of San Francisco, working on the global expansion of "Teaching the World Digital" in his e-learning technology venture, the Online Marketing Institute. Facebook and LinkedIn are his preferred places to connect.
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