the red couch 

If you have financial goals attached to your foray into social media, you need to know a little about advertising. Those of us in the ad creation business are tasked with crawling inside of the heart and mind of the prototypical person who represents a target audience. We know how to think like other people. Most any copywriter will tell you that psychology is the science of advertising. Which makes mathematics is the science of marketing. So if you come into this space because the math tells you to, you’ll need to apply the science of advertising to make it work. 

I know what some of you are thinking, ‘but advertising is just selling things.’ Well, that’s the goal usually, yes. But before we sell a damn thing, we have to establish an amiable relationship with the target person. When we do, they pay attention. If you think you can come into social media with a mathematics formula to increase sales, you will fail. But, since not everyone thinks or communicates like a copywriter, and because not every agency (few, I’d guess) are outfitted to manage their client’s social media communications, you have to consider other options. 

Here’s where it gets good – you don’t *have* to hire an agency or copywriter to create your messages and interact with your audience. Sure, maybe *you* (personally) are too close to your product/service to separate yourself enough to make a meaningful connection with your audience. But I’ll bet that there are people in your organization who are ready to do it. Real people. People who you already trust to represent your organization every day on the phone, via email and in person. Draw upon these resources to spearhead your social media engagement. When real people interact with other real people about mutual interests and passions, good things happen. 

The beauty of social media is that it reinforces the idea that people don’t want to be sold anything. Those of us in advertising have always known this. But if you come in here trying to sell stuff by attempting to write like a senior copywriter, you're going to butcher the hell out of your brand and the whole thing will backfire. Focus on building a great product and you'll gain a loyal following. Throw in some friendly chatter and responsive service by real people who already believe in your company, and social media is a goldmine waiting to be unearthed. Yes, you should hire experts do develop and produce your complex digital campaigns, but definitely keep your day-to-day social engagement stuff in house – where loyalty takes hold. 

Social media isn't brain surgery. But there's definitely an element of psychology involved. 


Jim Mitchem is a father, husband, copywriter and founder of smashcommunications. You can follow him on Twitter @smashadv.

What It's Like to be a Copywriter
Bank Tellers - Original Social Media Gurus

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.