Social networking is taking over the world. I keep track of my kids who are scattered around the world on Facebook; the same with my brother and sisters and their kids; with old friends, too. Why are these people in my network? Because I have an emotional connection with them. We have shared experiences and, while our politics and walk of life may vary, we are emotionally attached. When one does something special, it gets passed around to all their friends and family. Recently one of my daughters participated in a protest in our state capitol. She reached out and found solidarity on Facebook.
So, what is the message for marketers in this? People talk about things that matter to them. They pass along things that they feel passionate about. What have you done to make a strong emotional connection with your customers and prospects? What have you done to make them feel the level of passion about you that my daughter felt carrying that sign up the capitol steps in Madison?
Passion Conversation vs. Idle Chatter
Brands need to connect emotionally with customers. Just putting up a press release to bloggers or asking people to retweet a link, even if done regularly, won’t cut it. Conversations without emotion are just idle chatter and don’t do much to persuade. The whole reason we want people talking about us is so that their behavior will change and they will buy our brand more often. Conversations about brands and products usually happen when we feel strongly enough about something to share it with others, like my daughter. We are attracted to, and talk about, brands that are like us; that share the same passions, beliefs and aspirations as we do. Brands are the symbols that define people in their own eyes and in the eyes of others. How are you helping people be more of themselves?
Brand is beyond benefits.
It’s tough these days to generate this type of attachment based on a functional benefit –hey look, I think these clothes are whiter. There once was a time when products were different from competitive products. But today, in a society when we have the choice of over 50 cars or 30 tooth pastes, those functional differences are minor and certainly don’t generate much passion. What makes someone a Ford person or a Chevy person? Clue, it’s not the cup holders or even the navigation system. It’s something much deeper.
Building a brand is about understanding how to make that emotional connection, it’s not about more visits or friends. The best way to maximize social media is to tap into people’s passions. Then you will become important enough for them to share your story with others.