Social media is the addiction of choice for the new millennium. You’re plugged-in at home, in the workplace, in private, with strangers, and out in the open with friends. Just look around you, on any given day, and observe how many people are mentally, physically, metaphorically and literally hooked on their mobile devices and laptops.
They’re running around all hopped up on the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Tumblr, Google+, apps, games and anything else that connects one person to some software and then back to other people.
Most of it’s free, and once they’re hooked they can’t live without it. I know this, because my agency has been a party to the spread of this addiction. Yes, I do feel some guilt, but I’m comforted by the knowledge that if it wasn’t me feeding their habits, it would be someone else.
Social Media Dealers
So how does your brand’s marketing team score some of the action? As any good social media dealer knows, the idea is to give your clients a taste for free, turn them into content junkies, charge them for more, keep them coming back and then raise the price.
But, premium sites aside, most content is free and either user-generated (UGC) or created for marketing purposes. If you’re not going to charge them money, then you have to ask for something of equal value: their time and attention.
First, a quick guide to standard social media drug classifications:
- Vine and Instagram are social media crack. Videos are easy to find, cheap to use, they don’t last very long and you always want more. Addicts can take a quick hit during their lunch hour or sneak a fix on their break.
- Facebook is the beer and wine of social media. Inhibitions are low, reality is inflated and everyone talks nonstop about themselves and everyone else. So very convenient for marketers.
- Twitter is the cocaine of social media. Fast-acting, self-centered and highly addictive. Conversations are quick, brief and wear off before you know it.
- Google+ is that bag of weed that turned out to be oregano. And you can’t get your money back from the guy.
- Pinterest… leave your own classification in the comments section below.
The best way to earn fans’ time and attention is to leverage your branded content across select social media channels. And by leverage, I mean push it. Don’t wait for it to be found. Find your fans and give them what they’re looking for!
Get Social Media Fans Hooked
There are two ways that brands are getting the attention of the social media addicts: by being the dealer or the producer.
- If you’re the dealer. Being the dealer involves slapping your brand name on user-generated or other free content. You’re supplying what they need, while advertising something else they might need. You’re not making the social media drugs, you just deal them in exchange for time and attention.
- If you’re the producer. The second way brands are getting the attention of social media addicts is by being the producer — creating original content like branded entertainment, videos, web series, social apps, games, and anything else that will get them all hopped up on your brand, and passing it around to their friends. In this scenario, you make the social content and control the entire user experience.
Whether you decide to go along for the ride on the existing flood of social content, or create original content that carries your brand name and message, the trick is to become part of the culture and blend in. Whatever you do, don’t let them think you’re a social media narc, or they’ll turn on you… and then you’re finished.
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