If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 3+ years using Social Media, it’s this:
When it comes to being read and relevant, it’s all about value.
Of course, “value” means something different to every person looking for it. And some “value targets” are easier to hit than others.
But if there’s a pattern to be found here, it’s this: before you can hit your bullseye with consistency, you have to throw a lot of darts.
So it stands to reason that those who start on the outside of the target board and work their way in stand a much better chance of achieving their ultimate value goal, whatever that may be.
I’ve illustrated my target progressions above. I’d suspect that yours is similar, although the exact values and the number and size of the circles (i.e. the ease of achievement) may vary.
My first ring is “Keep My Faith in Humanity” – that is, I value things like common courtesy, respect, hellos, goodbyes, and general adherence to the Golden Rule. A big circle because it’s pretty easy to hit, and it doesn’t need a whole lot of substance behind it. Note: this needs to be personalized more often than not, however – automated replies are better than none, but not much better.
Next is “Make Me Laugh (or Sing)” – I highly value the ability to laugh and take a lighthearted view of things. I also love music and it’s ability to effect mood. So, if you post or tweet something that can make me smile (or reach for my iPod), you are hitting that target. This is also fairly easy to do, since there are a zillion jokes and songs out there. But it’s good practice for the next level.
Information is important to me – and so, the ability to “Inform Me” is an excellent value target. I can’t read every blog or every newspaper out there, so when someone points me to something that I ultimately find interesting, they’ve certainly created good value. The degree of difficulty has certainly gone up at this point, because to do this the provider has had to learn a few things about me.
Which leads to the next level, “Teach Me”. I love to learn new stuff, and if by informing me you also add to my knowledge base or understanding in a meaningful way, you have hit quite a value target. You are establishing yourself as a reliable source of learning – and you are ready to zero in a little further.
Now that you’ve piqued my interest in what you have to say by being polite, funny, and most informative, you can “Inspire and Challenge Me” . You post or Tweet something that is so good that it spurs me to action, or really forces me to sit back and reexamine myself. That’s quite a degree of difficulty, because I have to trust that you are being sincere, and not calculating, or not being provocative for its own sake (or to drum up attention to yourself).
When trust is established you can go for my ultimate value target – to “Sell Me” something. Your product, your service, your book – whatever it is. Because you’ve thrown enough value darts at me you will begin to hit the center mark with your pitches. Because I believe what you have to say, I’ll either buy from you, or, if it’s really a product I already have or don’t need, I’d be happy to recommend it to somebody else.
Can someone hit my center target right off the bat, or with only a few hits off-center? Just like darts, its always possible, but unless it’s the best written and presented sales pitch I’ve ever read, I’ll ignore it. (Kinda sounds like direct mail or e-mail and Twitter spamming, doesn’t it?).
Finding and hitting all of my value targets from the outside in takes a lot more work, but it’s really worth it. Ask all the folks I’ve met through Social Media that I have bought something from, or hired as consultants.
And as I’ve noted, I bet there are a lot of other people like me out there.
Darts, anyone? 🙂