We (consumers) are in an era that Jay Baer calls an "invitation avalanche."
Think about it. Every where you turn you're being invited to follow, friend, find, like, or share not only company's information, but friends and family too. Even when your mom puts a message on Facebook, it dilutes all the other messages that are being shared. Messages that marketers are trying desperately to get you to engage with.
Marketers today not only have to compete with other businesses, but with everyone else that is sharing information. Not just on Facebook, but all social and email platforms. Lets face it, consumers go to great lengths to not encounter "marketing."
How Do You Get Marketing Messages Seen?
Certainly not with "more." Can't we all agree that we don't need to read more tweets, more Facebook updates, or more emails. What we (marketers) need is relevance. Or another way to say it is, helpfulness.
"Aren't they giving away their business" you ask.
Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, was speaking at a conference a while back when a member of the audience asked "Robert, you guys are in the fixing business, yet you've got all these videos that show people how to fix stuff without you. How does that make business sense?"
Robert responded with humor but dead on. He said "our best customers are the people that think they can fix it themselves."
I couldn't agree more. I've certainly paid for services like Geek Squad because I thought I could handle the project myself, but then quickly realized I was out of my depth of knowlege.
"Friend of Mine" Marketing
Your content should be so compelling that your audience allows your brand in their inner circle. Jay calls this "Friend of Mine" marketing. Meaning the content you're producing is so relevant, that once your target audience needs help, they are not going to "Google a company", they're going to call you. After all, they've watched your instructional videos, read your blogs, and downloaded your whitepapers—all of which were helpful to them.
Remember though, it's not a quick close. Being useful in social media and content marketing is all about the long game.