Value social media twitterSocial media terms have become the cliché business buzzwords of the past few years.

‘Engagement’ is the new synergy, ‘optimization’ is the new incentivize and ‘Value-Add’ has become as bad as ‘Core Compentency’ used to be.

The worst part of buzz words is that there are often solid practices and necessary strategies behind them, but people with little or no expertise have overused them so badly that they’ve lost their impact.

Simple Equation: Positive Input = Positive Reaction

In the case of social media value, fortunately the answer is much simpler than the crowd often makes it out to be. Thousands of people make their living off of dazzling people with terms and tricks that appear to be progressive when the simple fact is that putting positive content into the social environment is the best way to create a positive reaction.

Case studies of successful SM campaigns inevitably draw examples from companies like Coca-Cola, Dell and Nike. Social media is easy when simply associating with your brand name is valuable to people. Real value is created by businesses that don’t have a wide reach and must give people a reason other than their reputation to follow along.

Value Added Examples

Wine Library

The quintessential case of building value from next to nothing is winelibrary.com run by Gary Vaynerchuk. Wine Library was a small liquor store in New Jersey that had a passionate owner who loved his product and his customers. Vaynerchuk set about producing and releasing dozens of 30 minute videos that described wine, taught its viewers how to appreciate it and educated them on the different varieties.

The beauty is that he asked for nothing in return. People flocked to his site and the business grew by a minimum of 20% per month year over year for three years straight.

Why was Wine Library able to grow so quickly when there’s a liquor store on every corner in New Jersey and the wine community has religiously gotten their advice from two main sources for years? Three reasons:

  1. The brand clearly loves its product and its customers.
  2. The information is valuable to the target market
  3. There is no sales pitch or any suggestion of reciprocity

Clearly the video approach isn’t for every business, but it clearly illustrates how an otherwise completely ordinary business can explode into social media by giving people something useful.

Zappos

Another common example is Zappos. The internet’s largest independent shoe distributor built its brand by doing things like giving ever employee a Twitter account and asking them to interact with customers about their love for shoes. Not necessarily shoes that Zappos sells, just any shoes that interest them.

And Your Brand…

The value addition that’s right for your brand may simply be a charismatic personality that people are drawn to, just like there is no one method to creating a valuable product to sell, there isn’t a recipe for social media either.

The easy and obvious way to gain favor in the eyes of Tweeps and Facebookers is to give away things and throw contests. Your readership will swell immediately and all of those new fans will love you as long as you keep pouring new freebies into the trough.

Creating loyal followers is about giving them a reason to following you. If that reason is insight, expertise or wit, you’ll have your followers. Similarly, if the reason is cheap deals and giveaways your bargain hunting fans will stray as soon as you stop the handouts.

What’s your take on social media buzzwords? Let us know by leaving a comment below.