I was a much more trusting consumer a decade ago. If a TV commercial told me that I needed three blades to get a clean shave, I went out and bought the first set of Gillette MACH 3 razors that I could get my hands on.
These days, my consumer mindset has changed. I am wary of most advertisements and I now get my information from user reviews. Why listen to the sales pitch when you can find out what the average Joe thinks of a product?
The guidelines for producing successful marketing strategies have changed dramatically since social media has emerged. Consumers have gotten smarter. They rely less on ads and more on friends and influencer recommendations.
What does this mean for marketers? It means that you must become a friend to the consumer in order to sell them on a product or an idea. They do not want to pay attention to your glitzy ads or listen to your creative sales pitch before they really “know” you.
When you think of social media as a marketing tool, you must not forget the word social. Social media users can spot spam from a mile away. Your social marketing efforts need to come from an actual human. This person cannot simply advertise their product or service. They need to entertain, inspire and interact.
For example, if you want to build a following on Twitter, you will not get far by posting only sales lines and links to your product pages. Only 20 to 30 percent of your marketing efforts should be utilized this way. However, the other 70 or 80 percent of your posts should be geared towards building relationships. Mentioning or complimenting others, writing inspirational quotes, and posting funny content must be included in your daily Twitter activity list.
Marketing with a social mindset will help you gain consumer trust. In turn, it will be easier to turn them into a customer. An additional advantage is this: once you have won the trust of one consumer, that person will recommend you to their friends, relatives and their online connections.