“Treat others the way you want to be treated.” I’m sure at some point in your life someone has recited that age-old adage to you. Well, today I’m going to preach it to you again. This time, however, I’m adding a little spin to it and applying it to social media.

Whether you’re a small or large business, well-known company or are just beginning to build your brand, there’s one thing that remains the same: You must give back to your followers.

As the Content Manager here at Flying Cork, a large chunk of my time is spent living and breathing all things social media. Whether I’m creating custom content for each platform, practicing my personal golden rule of social listening, or engaging with others, I’m constantly trying to provide value to the end user. It’s this type of content that I believe helps build a strong bond between brands and their consumers.

It’s a cyclical approach because let’s face it, you can’t have success without an audience. You have to go above and beyond to reach your audience, grab their attention, provide value, and keep them coming back for more. So how do you do it?

One word: Reciprocity.

I’m a big supporter of reciprocity in social media. I think it’s imperative and should always be factored into an overall social media strategy because the value that it provides is beyond your average ROI. Sure, we have to worry about numbers and making sales, but doing that becomes harder if you don’t have an engaged following that’s backing your brand.

So how exactly do you infuse the golden rule of reciprocity into your social media strategy? Here are some guidelines to get you started:

Don’t expect anything from your followers.

I know that sounds harsh, but hear me out. When I say this, I mean that you shouldn’t expect your followers to do anything for you if you haven’t done anything for them. You should have the mentality that you’re going to provide your audience with some sort of value in every exchange. Whether it’s an infographic, a helpful tip, an informative blog post, or some piece of content that’s going to be worth your audience’s time to consume, always, and I can’t stress it enough, always give your audience more than what they give you.

Always put the consumer first.

When you do this, you’ll produce content that directly addresses their needs, which speaks volumes to the end consumer. In this day and age, so much of the consumer’s attention is given to social media, so what better place to mine valuable data than the source? When you uncover the interests, trends, and pain points of your audience, and create content that addresses those, provides a solution, or simply is of interest to them, it will ultimately show that you’re listening and that you care. When consumers feel a connection and that a brand is relevant to them, they’ll be more likely to take action when asked.

Shift your mindset.

As marketers, we’re programmed to sell and are focused on the ROI of each piece of our overall strategy. But given the current landscape of social media, you can no longer rely on obvious plugs of our products on our social profiles. Instead, you have to realize that consumers don’t always want to be overtly old when they’re catching up on Facebook. Rather, they want to be told a story that clearly explains the benefits of the product/service and how they essentially can’t live without it. When you take the time to thoughtfully craft content and don’t audible to the easy way out for quick wins, you’ll realize that your return on investment of giving more than you get will be creating a strong, avid, loyal following of people who care about your company and what you have to say. Always remember that social media marketing is a marathon. When you set yourself up for a sprint, sure, you have quick returns, but it’s impossible to maintain that pace time. Slow and steady wins the race, and in this case, always keeping your consumer top-of-mind and providing value in every exchange will ultimately drive you to the finish line.

Reciprocity is something that all marketers should practice, particularly on social media, because it puts the consumer at the forefront of every action you take. So, when it comes time to create content, lead with value and build your following; then, when it comes time for you to ask your audience to do something in return, they’ll do it without a second thought.

Do you need help implementing the golden rule of social media to your efforts? If so, I’d love to chat!

As a brand-new hockey season is drawing near, I wanted to take some time to enjoy the late-game heroics that sealed the deal for the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, our hometown team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

To do just that, I found a goosebump-inducing clip from Business Insider of Patric Hornqvist’s game-winning goal. Enjoy!

Pittsburgh Penguins, back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.

A reason to celebrate

In the sports world, when a team clinches a playoff spot, wins their division or takes home a championship, champagne is always part of the equation. After all, we’ve seen countless video clips of locker room celebrations with players wearing goggles, jumping for joy, and popping bottle after bottle of champagne to celebrate.

This just goes to show that every big win has a monumental moment. It’s in this moment of success that corks are flying and the entire team (fans included) feels as if they’ve had a hand in the big success.

Now, the idea of celebrating a win isn’t reserved only for sports.  In fact, in digital marketing, we celebrate successes both small and large every day with our clients.

The fact of the matter is that Pittsburgh as a whole is a treasure trove of inspiration and being that the Flying Cork office is located in the heart of the city, right across the street from Point State Park, we’ve been able to feed off of the constant supply of motivation and apply it to our own work.

As a proud member of the City of Champions, I wanted to take some time to focus on the evolution of our hometown and why not only our sports teams, but the people who live within the city limits, are a testament to the idea that “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Pittsburgh is built on evolution and change.

From our early origin as the “Steel City” to being known as the “city of bridges” to now becoming a welcoming home to entrepreneurs and creative minds, Pittsburgh has become a place for forward-thinkers. Even Forbes Magazine took note of our growth when they listed Pittsburgh as an up and coming tech city in the U.S. (watch out Silicon Valley, we’re coming for you!).

Over the years, we’ve seen the introduction of the self-driving Uber onto our busy city streets, countless breakthroughs from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, and a large presence by none other than Google. And this progress is something that we can all be proud of because we have, as a city, worked to break the mold in the tech world all the while putting culture in the forefront as well.

Just take Pittsburgh’s Cultural District for example. This 14-square block area of downtown is home to a myriad of theaters, art galleries and much more. It’s here that you can find an upcoming play at the Benedum Center or Heinz Hall to name a few, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the 50 dining establishments, or even take a bike ride through the city.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the evolution and change that’s emanating from this city because the ongoing story of perseverance, grit and the wherewithal to embrace change and run with it is what fuels us as a team at Flying Cork.

Pittsburgh and marketing. 

The connection between Pittsburgh and marketing is strong because we as marketers have to be nimble and willing to change in order to stay relevant, create and implement fresh ideas, and be one step ahead of the competition.

As I’ve said before, there’s a lot of motivation to pull from this city and when it comes to business, the idea of embracing, not fearing change, is one that powers us to take risks and think outside-of-the-box.  Because without change, there’s no growth and as the popular saying goes, “change nothing and nothing changes.”

To end this blog, I think it’s safe to say that Pittsburgh is like a fine wine: it only gets better with age.