How Social Media Marketing Works

generous-1024x680Everyday in Zimbabwe, and really, all across Africa, businesses are finally waking up to the opportunity of social media marketing. Facebook especially. Problem is, most people and companies just have no real clue about how it really works, so that even large brands with large followings on Facebook or Twitter for example, just don’t really see much in the way of bottom line results. So…what to do? How does it work? What’s the best strategy?

I’ve had the opportunity in the last few months to be on the receiving end of some very generous people. People who have given and forgiven me even when i couldn’t give back. It’s a truly humbling experience, and it’s also the secret to making social media work short and long-term – In one word…


Social media is about relationships, not ‘likes’ or fans or followers and so on. I’ve found that the vast majority of so-called ‘social media experts’ in Zimbabwe are nothing more than ‘collectors’, not marketers. They collect likes on Facebook and connections on LinkedIn and followers on twitter, but they don’t actually develop any relationship with their market. It’s one thing to get your number of likes up (even this most fail at), but another thing to actually get any results from those likes. So…what to do? Again that one word


Social media, like all real marketing, is about leadership. Not popularity or useless attention. It’s about positioning yourself so that you’re able to influence thoughts, ideas, conversations and buying criteria. It’s about being the someone who people look to, to help them get to their goals, to mentor them, to support them.

So how does generosity help?

When you’re generous with valuable information, resources, ideas and even discounts and actual products people want to engage with you. They want to be in relationship with you, they want to recommend you and help you achieve your goals – why? because you care. Because you’re not all about your product or service. because you’re genuinely out to help. Someone like that is easy to follow, be loyal to, learn from.

We all have a tendency to concern ourselves only with our own needs, point of view, problems and so on. That’s why most of us find it so hard to give out, forgive or really do anything without thinking first about how it benefits ourselves or without someone having to ‘deserve it’ first. The funny thing about social media though, is that it rewards the few who can and do. It rewards the generous.

There are a lot of ways to fast forward your results online, but without a generosity mindset as a foundation…it’s all just short-term, low leverage hype and noise that doesn’t translate to much in the end.

I guess Jesus was right (again) “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will men pour into your bosom.” Luke 6:38

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