People and their passions…why social media works


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I’ve been struggling with “quantifying” social media ROI, particularly for my business to business clients, but this past weekend—as I was sitting at my daughter’s swim meet, managing multiple Facebook threads, and reading the book Brains on Fire—something clicked. I’ve been thinking too much about the how and what and I was overlooking the why. The reason why social media works is because of people, their passions, and their need to connect (thank you @robbinphillips and team for that reminder).

Yes, many resources will tell you to be human, to be honest, to be a real person, but they stop short… because the why is a soft, touchy-feely place that cannot be quantified. It’s hard to describe that “spark” that ignites social media because it is different for each and every person. What stirs me is entirely different than what stirs you. And it’s even harder to walk into a boardroom with the President and Marketing Director of Widgets Inc. and convince them that yes, passion, will—in the long term—sell more widgets.

For me, the Brains on Fire “passion” point clicked when I realized that during these simultaneous Facebook conversations, I was talking swimming to an old friend who swam in high school, dogs to a pet-loving, long-distance cousin, and Vonnegut to my college freshman. It wasn’t these particular conversations that struck me, it was that I always have these exact SAME conversations with these SAME people. Without my youngest daughter swimming, my friend and I would have very little to talk about anymore. Without sharing our love for dogs, my cousin and I wouldn’t have much in common. And it’s only literature and environmental concerns that keep the dialogue open between my older daughter and I.

Now, to convert that passion into a business to business world, that’s another story. Can people be passionate about widgets? Probably not. But people who buy widgets are passionate about something. Everyone is passionate about something.

They key is to find those things that your customers are passionate about, and discover how your product or service would enable your customers to experience or further grow that passion. For example, a client in the retail energy space could tie into green social media networks to provide tips and advice for saving energy. Or, a software vendor to the mortgage industry could promote news and discussion related to government regulatory policy (may sound boring but if you are in the industry you know the passion government policy evokes).

So, what about widgets? If you’re selling widgets, let’s say something like replacement hoses for trucks, how do you find passion? Who’s passionate about replacement hoses? It’s not about the product, it’s about the audience.

Truckers buy replacement hoses. Truckers drive long distances, away from home, across the country. They are passionate about three things: staying in touch with family, restaurants that serve home cooking, and where to get a hot shower.

Truckers are incredibly connected via mobile phones and laptops. Social media is their lifeline to their family and friends.* Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Blog about the best places to eat, to shower, to stop for an uninterrupted nap. Do product reviews on smart phones, cell phone coverage, and laptop durability. And, while you’re at it, let them know how your hoses last longer and will never leave them stranded hundreds of miles from home.

How do I know this about truckers? Well, my brother is a trucker… my brother is family. And you should know your best customers like family too. Talk to your customers, ask them questions. Don’t ask questions about your product, but about them. And listen, truly listen. Don’t listen for what you can use to market to them – listen for what it is they need.

Help your customers fulfill their needs (whether it is directly with your product or indirectly) and you’ll create loyalty, word of mouth referrals, and a social networking army whose ROI will far surpass any mass media advertising campaign.


*While anecdotally I knew this, I also checked my data. Accoridng to NetProspex, the Trucking, Moving & Storage Industry has the highest employee social media involvement for a blue-collar industry at #48.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Raelin Musuraca
Customer Experience Strategist, Musuraca LLC
Raelin Musuraca is versatile and energetic customer experience strategist with twenty years practicing marketing, digital strategy, and user experience. She has led multidisciplinary teams in the development of award-winning marketing and customer engagement programs.


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