Don’t forget to actually be social

It seems like there’s a consensus on social media marketing: Forget marketing. Just be social.

That sounds obvious enough. Like phones, email and every other way of communicating, it’s just another tool that people use to waste time or learn new things or take part in a community.

In other words, we also don’t want to be marketed to on social media. Sure, you can pepper in promotions and sells—that comes with the territory. Just remember to do the things that build real relationships. Tell a story, offer a benefit, connect us to what we’re passionate about.

Here are a few brands doing it right:

  • Starbucks: MyStarbucksidea.com and everylove are excellent examples of brand community-building.
  • Zappos: On Facebook and their blog, Zappos asks fans to rate recent trends, find out what their customers are looking for and gives fans access to exclusive content, videos and special promotions.
  • Barclaycard US: With its new Barclaycard Ring credit card, Barclaycard US is enabling its community of cardholders to decide on the features they want and even keep some of the profits.