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The One Secret to Great Social Media Marketing

Make Others Feel Special

This blog post was originally published in 2015 on my personal blog it has been updated slightly for relevance.

Each summer I go to the Renaissance Faire in Bristol, Wisconsin. Yes, I’m one of those people, luckily this particular tale does not end in a sword fight in defense of my honor. Instead it is a story about a subtle bit of marketing done by one of the entertainers at the fair that I’ve applied to some of my social media marketing efforts.

The entertainer, a very talented and nimble man who goes by the name Moonie the Magnificent, barely speaks during his show of tightrope walking, juggling, and antics. During his performance, he communicates mostly through whistles and pantomime. I’ve seen his show dozens of times and it barely changes. The predictability of it is part of what makes it so fun to watch and see how others who are seeing the performance for the first time react.

The subtle bit of marketing I want to discuss occurs at the end of the show. Moonie the Magnificent comes out into the audience with his hat so those who appreciated the show can show their appreciation by dropping a dollar or two into his hat.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve seen Moonie the Magnificent perform dozens of times (okay probably a few dozen times, but who’s counting?) and each time I have a dollar or two ready to drop into his hat. Each time I walk up and give him the money, Moonie the Magnificent says in a very soft voice, “You were the best one.”

Each and every time this happens, I get a tiny electric thrill. Sure, milliseconds later I realize he is saying this to everyone. Sure, I chuckle at myself for having that moment of excitement. Oh how foolish I should feel, but I don’t. I feel good. I feel good because for the briefest of moments, I felt special.

I’ve been telling this story to my team members to demonstrate how, with little effort, we can make our social media special to people. See them, acknowledge them, make people feel special.

We don’t have a dedicated team or person for social media for the sites we run. Instead it is a secondary thought. We automate so much of our social media, we pretty much violate every rule of being social on the Internet constructed. We talk; we don’t listen. We demand attention; we don’t give it.

For one of the sites I manage, I have the sole duty of managing the social media. It is a new site and since it’s conception in November to April, social represents 26% of the traffic the site receives. Organic search is slowly climbing and will overtake social very soon, but with social playing such a huge part of the traffic right from the start I felt a need to take it a bit more seriously and thought of Moonie the Magnificent and how he could make so many people feel special at the end of every performance with a minimum of effort.

For the Twitter account for this new site, I have made a conscious effort to do these four actions:

1) Retweet and Favorite quality content
This is standard curation in social media and helps keep your channel filled with messages that aren’t entirely self-serving.

2) Actively thanking people for retweeting and liking my content
I believe this is a staple of social media. When someone amplifies your message, the least you can do is thank them.

3) Thanking people for sharing content I favorite or retweet
When someone shares something I think my followers might find worthwhile, I’ve now taken the step to thank them for bringing it to my attention. Why shouldn’t they be thanked for their efforts at curating content for me? Whether it is other’s content they are sharing or their own. If I find it noteworthy enough to retweet, I can also take the additional step of thanking them. My belief is while having my own content reshared is a thrill in and of itself, it does nothing to actual make a connection. The additional step of thanking and acknowledging the person who originally shared it at least breaks the standard routine and might allow for an actual connection.

4) Visiting the site where the content came from and leaving a comment there explaining why I found the content worth retweeting to my followers.
This is an additional effort which stemmed from my own frustration with comments on various blogs I run. The amount of spammy comments is so intense my gut tells me to turn off all comments. Yet, when a real comment does appear, it is so rare, I prize it like the gift it is. We all have the power to give this gift to another. Most often I don’t know what to say as a comment but if I am resharing the content all I need to do is explain why I found the content to be valuable enough to share with my followers. It is usually a short, simple comment relating directly to the content and nothing more.

This effort honestly takes me maybe twenty to thirty minutes a day. It is the bare minimum of social engagement and not a level I am at all proud of. When I do this, I’m not asking for reciprocation. I’m not asking for anything. All I hope I’m doing is telling the person on the other end of the Twitter connection who has spent time and effort writing content and trying to be seen along with everyone else, “You were the best one.”