Right at the outset in the book’s introduction, Kabani points out the primary difficulty marketers have with social media. Their challenge is that they’re trying to apply traditional marketing rules to what essentially is a platform outside their control.
Therein, lies the most important lesson for companies struggling to understand social media marketing. The balance of power has shifted to consumers. By the time you become aware of your prospect, your prospect has already acquired massive amounts of information about you. Through search, social media, and recommendations from friends and colleagues, the consumer researches you and your company before you get a chance to say the first word.
The author describes the “Zen” of Zen Marketing as:
“…understanding the mind-set of people who are using social media and then using it to your advantage.”
Kabani’s point is that Zen marketing should flow naturally from authentic interactions with your customers and prospects. If not, you’re doing it wrong. No question you must first have a good brand story and be clear about the outcome and benefit to your customers. Then, you need to provide clear, generous, and helpful content that helps them solve real problems and attracts them back to you and your brand.
As with all things marketing, it’s important to manage the expectations of the tools and tactics we use. Many companies fundamentally misunderstand the role of social media.
“Social media marketing works best as a tool for attracting traffic and attention. It doesn’t work as well for converting strangers into clients. It’s better suited to converting strangers into consumers (blog readers or newsletter subscribers), if simply because “free” is an easy sell. Free works! And over time, it can and will lead to business.”
First we need to engage potential clients and customers on the social media platforms where they congregate. Then we attract them back to our sites with meaningful content in whatever form we have (blogs, newsletters, videos, ebooks, reports). By freely sharing our content, we engage our community and build our authority. Through authentic and authoritative thought leadership, we grow our customer base; but it is this new interim step of freely sharing our content that many traditional marketers find so difficult.
Why is social media so important to companies now? Because 49% to 90% of web users have purchased a product on recommendations they received through a social media site. Companies can’t afford not to use social media.
As with anything, there is a right way and a wrong way to do social media. Kabani’s book and her website provide real-world, practical, and easy-to-understand strategies for creating a successful social media marketing plan for your organization.
I highly recommend this book, a social media roadmap essentially, to those who are either at the initial steps of creating a social media plan or those who are unhappy with the ROI of their social media marketing.
What are some of your social marketing insights?
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