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3 Ways Social Media Amplifies Soul

by David · 0 comments

Embrace social media and the opportunities it creates, and it will revitalize your business with life and soul, drawing people in.

Soul Amp #1: Bringing People Together

Carpooling makes perfect sense to consumers.

Drivers can earn money by making the same journey they drive everyday. Chances are, they’ll make new friends too.

Passengers can get door-to-door without the high cost of a taxi or the inconvenience of catching a bus.

As a bonus benefit for the environmentally aware, car pooling reduces pollution.

Car pooling makes financial sense, but until very recently, few people have bothered with it. Economists call this a market-failure . This is when the course of action that makes the most financial sense doesn’t happen.

What’s changed to make people take up carpooling?

Social media.

Car-pooling failed in the past for two reasons. First, lack of information. To car pool, you need to know who’s going where at what time. Second, lack of trust. Giving rides to total strangers feels dangers.

Social media solves both of these. It lets you communicate when and where you’re going. And it provides an opportunity to get to know people before you offer them a ride. You can even decide who will provide the most fascinating in-car conversation.

The trust established by social media creates new business opportunities. Carpooling.com, founded in 2001, started flourishing in 2007, as the social media boom began.

Social media brings people together, and that creates new business opportunities. Look out for them.

Soul Amp #2: The Inside View

Before social media, most businesses were a closed book, an impenetrable fortress. Your product and sales team were your only connection with customers.

At restaurants, customers ate your food, and maybe chatted with the chef. But very few got to see what happened inside the the kitchen.

At sports games, the crowd watched and cheered the players. But very few got to see inside the locker room.

In supermarkets customers bought their fruit and veg knowing nothing about the farms on which it was grown.

That’s all changed.

Like it or not, your customers are getting the inside scoop on your business from somewhere. They want the truth about how your products are made, how your employees feel about the world, where you get your raw materials from. Social media lets them find out what they want to know and, good or bad, tell their friends about it.

Take the bull by the horns, and make sure the first place your customers go for the inside scoop is you. Yes, that means being open and vulnerable. Yes, that means admitting your mistakes. But as customers get to know you, they’ll trust and love your brand even more.

Here’s a perfect example from Boston Celtics, in the words of their social media manager, Peter Stringer:

“I think the biggest thing we can provide through our social channels is an inside look at the organization. For instance, last night’s (6/7/2012) Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 vs. Miami is a perfect example. I snapped a photo of a simple message on the dry erase board in our locker room that was authentic and symbolic. It said, “12:30 Flight – Pack for a Week.” The implication was simple for fans in the know; it was a message to our players that after we win Game 7 vs. Miami, we’re flying directly to Oklahoma City for the NBA Finals. It was a motivational message from the coaching staff to our players, and by sharing that picture with 200,000 fans on Instagram, and 500,000 on Twitter, we sent a message of hope to a fan base still reeling from a disappointing loss.”

(Side note: Sure, in the past consumers could visit Hershey’s chocolate factory, or the Universal Studios Theme Park. But today’s connected consumer knows that’s a manufactured experience. Your customers want reality. They expect you to be open, real and honest.)

Soul Amp #3: Gives Consumers A Voice

Social media gives customers a voice. And that has the potential to inject soul into your brand.

Trip Advisor, Amazon, Angie’s List, Epinions, Qype, and eBay feedback. Customers are having their say all over the web (even on Facebook pages, sometimes disasterously), and their words matter. Two thirds of consumers read online reviews, and three in five say that positive reviews increase their trust of a local business.

The number one reason people leave reviews is because they want to help other consumers make good decisions.

This is a two edged sword.

If you’re doing what your customers LOVE, you’ll know about it, almost instantly.

But do something they HATE, and you’ll know about it just as fast.

And in both cases, the word will spread. Social media amplifies the consequences of every action your business takes.

See this as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd by doing a damn good job. Customers sit up and take notices when they see that businesses care.

Embrace the Soul

Bury your head in the sand, ignore social media, and it could end up draining the life from your party. Don’t let it.

Embrace social media and the opportunities it creates, and it will revitalize your business with life and soul, drawing people in.

David is Social Caffeine’s acting editor. He’s British, but we don’t hold that against him.

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