On Laundry and Social Engagement

I was in power mode yesterday. I had finally started my laundry downstairs, and was settling into a nice quiet evening of spaghetti (read: a vehicle for parmesan cheese), reruns of The Office, and writing. I was unstoppable.

Queue my laundry alarm. I hurried downstairs, expecting that the dryer would probably be done after 45 minutes. Wrong. There was a guy in the laundry room waiting for the dryer, so I stuck around in order to be there to empty my laundry ASAP.

We had run into each other a couple times previously, and before long we were chatting up a storm. No writing was going to happen as long as I was down here. Pretty soon, we broke out the wine and were having a great time (Yes, still in the laundry room. Don’t you wish you were still 21?).

I finally stopped the dryer after an hour forty-five (Side note: My clothes were about 5 minutes from becoming a fiery ball of lint. They were HOT.). But rather than go back upstairs to my power mode workstation, I ended up spending the evening hanging out with my new friend.

There’s a message here, and it’s not just about laundry room friendships. Whether you’re sharing random details of your life with someone you just met or tweeting to 500,000 followers for a client, there is a right and a wrong way to communicate. Like the sullen teenager manages to answer every question with a single syllable response or the overly caffeinated cheerleader whose 200wpm doesn’t give you a word edgewise, your communication through social media can be ineffective, uninspiring, or worst, annoying.

When properly executed, social media gives brands an opportunity to build an identity that is more personable and relatable to consumers. Rather than force-feeding advertisements to consumers, brands can foster conversations and ultimately turn the focus back to where it belongs: on the consumer.

The key there is “when properly executed.” We’ve all seen brands do it wrong to varying degrees. Nobody cares if you’re on [insert social network here] if you’re not using it to effectively engage with other users.

As social networks climb in the SERPs, the community you have developed will have an increasing amount of influence on your brand’s SEO and overall web presence. It doesn’t matter if you post or tweet 50 times a day (I don’t recommend it.). If the content doesn’t delight users and foster an incentive to respond or share, you haven’t achieved much.

Post content that inspires interaction. Actually respond to your consumers. Be genuine. Do your laundry. It’s that easy.

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4 thoughts on “On Laundry and Social Engagement

  1. Great post Hillary. I also think that social is so much more powerful when you’re not doing everything digital. Just like how you connected with the dude in the laundry room. When you use social effectively AND integrate the human element, the results are astounding.

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    • Mackenzie – exactly. I think we end up overthinking social media. Sure, there are definitely rules of thumb you should follow, but really it’s all about turning to the customer and having the conversation they want to have.

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  2. You were able to develop an IRL friendship AND write a blog post about it in a two-day timeframe? That’s impressive! lol. Great post. There are so many brands who do social media because “social media is huge!” They schedule out their tweets, only tweet about their promotions, and don’t actually use it to connect with any of their customers. On the other side, the brands who do use social media well are the ones who are going to keep their customers and win new ones.

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    • A lot of companies view social media as a point of parity in today’s world and totally miss the point. It’s a lot like saying dialup and cable internet are equal. You’re exactly right – brands that excel at social engagement are going to continue to gain consumer favor while those that don’t will be left behind.

      Also, definition of cool? Using 3-letter acronyms.

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