A forest fire blazed its way through my Colorado hometown recently. It tragically claimed more than 500 homes and two people. As fear, destruction and uncertainty took hold, something beautiful happened: A community came together on a social networking site. If we look closely at this social media phenomenon, we, as marketers, can learn how to inspire and be more relevant to our communities.
On June 11, the Black Forest fire raced through homes, scattering loved ones. With scars still fresh from the Waldo Canyon fire that took 346 homes and two people last year, a city took action. A few individuals started aFacebook page and within hours it had attracted 10,000 likes. Within four days, the page had 37,000 likes, and a week later, it had grown to 42,000. The Colorado Black Forest fire Facebook page had united a heartbroken community and garnered national attention, creating good in the place of bad.
While this page isn’t a brand or a company, it is a community with a few lessons to teach marketers:
Relevant content always wins. This page has what everyone wants: up-to-date information, stories of inspiration and calls to action. The page has 42,000 likes, yet more than 77,000 people are “talking about this.” That’s incredible.
It’s not about us. It’s about them. As marketers, we’re great about posting what we want our customers to know. But guess what? They don’t care. Our customers care about themselves, their loved ones and what you, as a marketer, can do for them – not what they can do for you. Refocus, and tap into what they care about and try again.
People want to engage. People choose to follow you because they want to engage with you. They want to know you, the brand they already love and identify with. Engage, and they will follow. Connect, and they will share.
Emotions drive us. We often talk about human relevancy. That’s because we’re humans who run on emotions. Whether it’s grief, fear, happiness or relief, we’re driven by them and connect to them. Be real. Be open. Be emotion-filled. Then you’ll be relevant.
People want to make a difference. Social responsibility and cause marketing are as popular as ever. Look at this page and see why. There is need in the world, and there is a need to fill that need in humans. Tap into this. Help them make a difference.
If you haven’t checked out the Facebook page for the Black Forest fire yet, you should now. There are some remarkable men and women in the world who have so much to offer and teach us.
Kim Lauersdorf is the strategy director at gyro Denver.