Since we already know that building authentic personal connections through audience engagement is the goal of social media, let’s take a look at the “how” of doing this. Research indicates that people tend to trust businesses they are engaged with via social media more than others, and this can translate to sales for your business. But one must be careful not to cross the line in video content, or your vlog (video blog) just becomes a commercial that viewers will tune out.
Video is one of the fastest growing sectors of our online experience. But what types of videos engage your audience? Simple! Content value is the ultimate test for viewer engagement. Either your video is entertaining (or has some explosively interesting content), or viewers will move on.
Other blogs on this site will look at some successful strategies being used by top companies using You Tube to distribute their message. But first, let’s think about the psychology that drives social media. I never advocate manipulating people, but it is important to know what’s valuable to your audience, and what drives their decision-making processes. In my opinion, the best business models are client driven.
The ego. We all have one, that part of us we think of as ME, the personality. I can guarantee that each member of your audience has an ego. Many psychologists agree that ego desires seem to drive the majority of our lives if we are not aware of its power. Ego drives our desires, our passions, relationships, and our dislikes. The ego likes to feel special, unique, important, and valuable, a “star” so it seeks experiences that increase those feelings. Social media makes stardom easier than before.
In the US especially, the “star” seems to be more important than the collective whole of individuals in our society these days. We glorify celebrity. We see this is in our public fascination with of sports stars and music celebrities for example. We see it in politics, where those elected are chosen for “star quality” rather than their political records. Reality TV is another area where we see the phenomenon of viewers interested in watching others who seem to be stars simply because they are on TV. Now we have stars on You Tube as well, those who post a video that goes viral.
We’re in the midst of a cultural phenomenon in which people with little authentic talent are becoming “stars”. Social Media is the “Cinderella” story exploded into cyberspace.
And most people’s egos would love to be a “Cinderella” themselves, catapulted into stardom via a viral You Tube video, an intoxicating idea of one’s specialness being discovered, astronomically raising one’s fame and fortune. For many perhaps it’s almost like a lottery mentality, throwing in a buck (or You Tube video) to see if you win big.
But there’s an underbelly to all of this. Psychologists are writing that social media seems to be fueling a big increase in narcissism culturally. Sites like You Tube and Facebook are at the forefront of this cultural movement, and their popularity points back to ego involvement because the underlying nature of these mediums is one of personal promotion, and increasing public status… both interests of the ego.
You Tube allows anyone to feel like a “star”. The human ego loves this idea.The problem is that few of us are truly “star quality”. And if you are a business owner who wants to use You Tube to market, then you’ve got you decide who your star(s) will be.
It’s natural that as a business owner you’d be tempted to make videos that act as commercials, talking all about how great your business is. Or that you’d try to be a “star” by doing hip videos… but there’s one problem with this notion. This is not what viewers are looking for. (We still see “vanity advertising” in real estate and other industries for example, where advertising focuses on the business owner, not the potential client, but these strategies are failing.) Viewers are not looking for commercials to watch! Viewers are looking for an experience. They want to feel special, like the star. The ego wants an experience.
Nor are viewers looking for videos of people sitting in front a their camera and simply talking unless they are saying something truly outrageous. No. Doing successful marketing via social media such as You Tube requires content that provides entertainment, content that has value for the viewer and finally, engagement with the viewer in a way designed to connect with their desires.
Going back to that pesky ego… the ego likes to feel important. One way to boost this feeling for your viewers is by inviting them to get involved, for example by giving an opinion about something in your video. When the interaction is two-way between you and your viewer then you are beginning to engage them. And engagement is what you want in order to boost your bottom line.
So what’s the answer? Authentic engagement. If you’re doing videos consider a series of helpful ones to potential clients. Or perhaps you should have one video poll each week and then post the results. Video can be a great way to do a contest also, with a video announcing the winner and having the winner in the video as a guest. Or what about videos that include some of your customers, particularly those who have interesting testimonial stories to tell? Be creative. And don’t be afraid to be yourself. After all, who knows? You could be the next You Tube star. LOL
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