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Are you using old skool strategies with new media tools?

Who's your target market?Do you really talk to a brand?

No, you don’t. Whether through social media or other means, you talk to a person who is representing the brand. It may be you are talking to the founder of a business, a marketing or sales manager, customer service or a social media manager, but you’re talking to a person at the other end of that conversation.

I recently had an issue with a purchase at Whole Foods market. No big deal really, but I expressed my disappointment online. The social media team responded quickly to direct me to the right person to solve my problem. They connected a human to a human. It felt good to be heard and recognized.

Whole Foods on Twitter

How could it have gone wrong?
A mindless auto response directing me to take the issue customer service might have resulted in me feeling a bit resentful which might have carried over to my going to the store with a complaint or whining more loudly on Twitter. The mindful response of “So sorry about that. If you let the store know, they would love the opportunity to make it right.” diffused my frustration and the follow up to resolve it showed attention to my needs. That one moment of mindful social engagement on the part of the social media manager made my day.

There are countless stories like this of real person to person engagements that happen every day. When a conversation with a corporation like Whole Foods feels like I’m talking to a person who cares about me and my little problem it results in building loyalty to the brand. I become an evangelist without giving it a second thought. I tell my friends about it. I blog about it. And the next time I’m in the store I feel just a little more friendly.

In his book There is no B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human H2H. Bryan Kramer says “Communication shouldn’t be complicated. It should just be genuine and simple, with the humility and understanding that we’re all multi-dimensional humans, every one of which has spent time in both the dark and delightful parts of life.” I whole-heartedly agree, it’s time for us to focus more on #H2H.

Mindless communication is the devil
Harvard Professor Dr. Ellen Langer Ph.D. wrote Mindfulness some 25 years ago in which she contends the mindless following of routine and automation can lead to more errors in day to day life, undermine the intuitive flow of conversation and limit creativity. She explains how we get locked into a focus on the outcome instead of how we are going to get there, and in social media in particular that’s a problem. If you take a minute to think about it you will likely agree. Mindless repetition and automation take the life out of our work. It shows when the responses to our appeals to buy a product or support a cause fall on deaf ears while other, more mindful approaches work so very well.

Learn Mindful Social Media Strategy
It’s time for us to quit paying lip service to social media. You’re either engaging and listening to people or you’re just using the same old boring tactics, probably to little effect. If you want to learn more about how to create a social media strategy that is mindful and effective, I’m leading a webinar for the Foundation Center on September 10, 2014. Join me for use-cases in how to create a strategy, tips and tricks to do it efficiently, and even how you can use automation as a way to encourage deeper engagement and relationships.