The Good / Bad Husband Social Media Analogy

Explaining the principles of successful social media marketing is not an easy task. Like a lot of my friends in the industry, I am very fond of using everyday analogies to bring certain aspects to life. It is especially rewarding when you get a ‘Oh, I get it now’ response. Anyway, I went for a run this morning and the following analogy popped into my head, and I think it’s a good ‘un. Let me explain…

Brands who are good at social media embody the characteristics of good husbands.¬†Brands who are aren’t so great at social media tend to embody the characteristics of not-so-great husbands.

While a bit of what you’re about to read needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, please save the hate mail until you’ve read the whole thing!

A good husband…

A good husband (according to my Mum!) embodies many of the following characteristics:

  • Good at listening
  • Seeks consultation with his partner before making major decisions
  • Follows through on commitments made to his wife
  • Anticipates different stages the marriage will go through
  • Accepts responsibility / apologises willingly
  • Altruistic / unselfish
Now, when it comes to how brands behave online and within online communities, many of these characteristics are incredibly transferable.
  • Listening – accepted as the basis for all good social media marketing activity
  • Consultation – brands who consult their communities when it comes to how they behave online will get much better buy in as opposed just enforcing a ‘top down’ mandate
  • Following through – like any relationship, not delivering on promises breaks down trust
  • Anticipation – adjusting to the needs of your community as they follow you on your social media journey
  • Accepting responsibility – a classic that needs no explanation

The deal breaker…

The point that really hit home for me was the ‘altruistic / unselfish’ one. The biggest mistake I see brands make when it comes to social media marketing tends to revolve around an INABILITY TO BE SELFLESS.

You can’t ask people do your work for you, unless you give them a helluva lot in return.
This is best illustrated by brands who ask people to use specific Twitter hashtags. Unless you have a history of participating in related conversations for a long period of time, you really don’t have the right to encourage people to use specific terms, especially branded ones (unless of course there is an incentive).

The bad husband…

Now, if I was going to do a summary of the characteristics of a ‘bad husband’ the following trait would be at the top of the list:
  • Only ‘gives’ when he wants something back in return


This is best illustrated when brand X asks you to share its latest YouTube video even though it has never shared anyone else’s content before. Why on earth would you feel compelled to do that?!

Good, bad, ugly…

The main point I’m trying to make is that social media success isn’t based on the quality of content you produce or the money you throw behind it. The most important principle is being there when you don’t need to be. Giving your communities a consistent experience that adds value to their day without wanting anything back in return. When you do that, your communities will gladly be your advocates, and most likely at times when you need them the most.
Note: No bloggers were harmed in the production of this post (let’s keep it that way!)
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