Empathy Drives the ‘Social’ in Social Media

Apr 26, 2016

Understanding the social media landscape, technology and tools is not enough to create the most compelling content. If the community manager doesn't get into the skin of the brand and more importantly its consumer, then the content will simply not resonate with the target audience.

For once, marketers are given the opportunity to have an ongoing and relatively cost efficient conversation with consumers on social media platforms. This opportunity should not be taken lightly and tackled with a cookie cutter approach.

Of course you need a strategy, ideas, contests and content calendars to maintain efficiency across your social media pages, but what is the backbone of all of these? In a nutshell, it’s being empathetic. Understanding and sharing the feelings of your target audience enables your content and narrative to strike a chord with them.

So be empathic, but do it genuinely. After all, every brand has a unique story and brand owners need to capitalize on this. You need to look beyond the product, otherwise you’re just commoditizing the brand. Even if the story is ‘accidental’, it’s a story nonetheless. And who doesn’t like a good story?

Think of your brand as a human being: a two-way conversation, honesty and enthusiasm can go a long way. So, in a sense, brands have to become more human. Brands have been accustomed for far too long to having a one-way conversation with consumers and that has shifted radically with the advent of social media, where content is made to prompt reactions from users, whether it’s liking, sharing, commenting, retweeting, mentioning, etc. Marketers live in what has essentially become a participatory culture, so what they do on social media can make or break them. Which brings us back to real, genuine empathy.

Package it well and this empathy can take your brand very far on social media; it will drive engagement; it will get people talking about you.

So, if you’re planning to launch your brand on social media or if your brand is already active, here’s a few things you need to remember to truly be social and therefore awesome:

  1. Tell your story
  2. Be genuine, don’t copy
  3. Always remember why your audience likes you and opts for you, rather than the competition (and of course, remind them of this)
  4. Involve your consumers and have them generate content with you
  5. Don’t be overly sales-y
  6. Don’t be afraid to react to community news and events if they are relevant to your audience and consumers
  7. When you can, bring your audience behind the scenes
  8. Give your audience a chance to have a sneak peak before a big reveal
  9. Reward audience/fan/follower loyalty
  10. Always keep your visuals/videos fresh and up-to-date