Why to Buy Me a Malt Liquor, or the Case Against Imploring in Social Media

The OED defines the word implore as…To beg or pray for (aid, favor, pardon, etc.) with tearful or touching entreaties; to ask for in supplication; to beseech.

There are two types of online marketing strategies – those that implore and those that do not. Imploring, beseeching, etc is old-paradigm. A new-paradigm strategy does not involve this sort of technique.

Says Merlin Mann

“Friend us on Facebook!” is a social media strategy like “Buy me a malt liquor!” is a charitable giving plan.

The analysis of this statement is that you cannot say to your customers and potential customers: “Give me something for nothing.” To get out of the malt liquor trap, it is necessary to do three things:

1. Concentrate Your Message

…and do not implore. It should be very certain that your social media strategy is focused on having the user do some action, (to follow your social media updates or to learn about a new product/service) but this strategy must exclude nagging the user about this. To create a centrality of focus is something that can be done much more subtly and effectively than with blatant and obnoxious messages.

2. Exchange Value for Value

Rather than simply expecting your user base to generate value for you, you must create a user community. This can be done by engaging users and by providing value in exchange for value. Value, in this context, can have two meanings.

a) Monetary Value

It is simple to hold a community-building contest. Offer a gift certificate or product/service as a prize. One good idea is to hold a Photoshop contest: invite users to submit photos based on a satirical theme. Provided care is taken to moderate the contest, users will produce meaningful and interesting pictures, which can bring value to your social media page.

Another simple social media technique is to provide a coupon (or coupon code) for your product, exclusively to social media followers. Doing this will create an incentive to follow your social media page and can also serve to get social media users interested in new or obscure products or services.

b) Value of Content

In addition to or instead of providing monetarily valuable content, you can provide content that has intangible value: content can be humorous, exciting, or entertaining. This can be as simple as re-posting a witty comment or a video or as complex as commissioning a social media advertisement. Creating valuable content is a very open-ended task, and requires a lot of inspiration and creativity.

3. Engage Users

Determine what your users like and stick with it. Use a statistics tracker, such as Facebook Insights, to figure out which types of postings and content are most enjoyed. Then attempt to innovate with this type of content to make it more popular, catchy, and interesting. Also, attempt to create new types of content and engage users in new ways.

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