The Secret to Social

Storytelling, Dialogue, Connection.

One of my favorite street murals at Detroit’s Lincoln Street Art Park. Photo by Cris DiNoto on Unsplash

These three words form the foundation of “post-push” marketing. Social media is a tool, a darn-good one, for building a foundation. But people, please know that social media isn’t going to work if Facebook is a box to be punched versus a powerful way to contribute to your audience’s lives.

“Doing Social” Don’t Get Me Started.

My co-workers invited me to get some soft-serve ice cream at Detroit Water Ice. Twenty-minutes later I was in heaven, slamming down a mondo-sized Georgia Peach water-ice with a vanilla Motown twist. I checked my phone and saw that Katie had posted an Instagram story with a photo of our water-ice creations.

I told the group that I couldn’t believe I had never heard of Detroit Water Ice, someone quickly directed me to their website, which told their story. Fascinated, I liked their Facebook page so that I could keep track of how they used the profits from the store in the community.

So riddle me this…when did Detroit Water Ice “Do Social?”

Nope. They started with an objective — Help Detroit’s most marginalized residents. They created a solution — sell absolutely divine Water Ice and donate 100% of the profits to local social good organizations.

But wait, an Instagram story, website visit, and a Facebook “Like” came out of a 20-minute lunch excursion. Someone “did some social” — right?

You might point to Katie. She is great at capturing great moments. But she would shoot you a Michaela shrug if you accused her of doing social. How about my “like” on Instagram? Nope. Friends no one “Did Social”. Detroit Water Ice just delivered an insanely cool story to tell.

Social media when “done right” is the result of a product or service done right — not the cause.

Detroit Proud

Detroit is a blue-collar town finally getting the respect it deserves. However, all is not well, Detroit has its very own hater club. The #haters pounce whenever someone dares to praise “The D”.

I’m sick of it and I had a feeling that other Detroit lovers felt the same. A year ago, I thought “I wish there was somewhere I can talk about what is going “right” in Detroit.”

Ten minutes later — I launched Detroit Proud. Detroit Proud is a Facebook group of Detroit fans. We celebrate every day the sun rises on Detroit. We share news, events, memes, and photos.

Are we doing social? Heck no! We are just hanging out on our digital front porch shooting the breeze.

Some straight talk.

The world isn’t waiting for you to post another meaningless photo with an equally irrelevant hashtag. You are “doing social” but unfortunately, you are “doing harm” to your brand too.

Before you “Do some social” ask — what are we really trying to accomplish?

If you are trying to build community around a shared purpose then social makes sense. If you want to force-feed your latest logo rebrand to every oxygen breathing adult in North America, then call what you’re doing what it really is — push advertising. Doing this crap on Facebook doesn’t make it more strategic or meaningful.

Go back, think about the people your brand has the privilege to serve. Engineer truly amazing moments for your customers. Done right, social will take care of itself, all you will need to do is protect and amplify the conversation.

Remember — Social doesn’t create buzz. It amplifies the excitement that is already there.