The Whats and Whys of Social Media

At Welt Branding we believe in the power of social media. Our recent post on Groupon got us discussing the whats and whys of social media.

WHAT IT IS, WHAT IT DOES

Social media” is the name for the channels you use in online social networking, which is how you expand your circle of contacts by connecting with others. Users converse, connect, and create content using these tools. As a marketer or brand you create content, too. Be it one person or a whole corporation, everyone enters the social media arena as an individual voice, and people will recognize if yours is authentic or not.

WHAT’S IT GOOD FOR?

(From a 2011 Survey of Social Media Marketers)

Using social media ultimately helps to improve sales but that’s not its primary function. For business and marketing purposes, let’s think of using social media as entering a club. You have a sense of who the players are, and you join the club to develop your relationships with them. To deepen these connections you must be genuine, helpful, useful, and value your relationship. Furthermore, you must have a reason to be there. If your use is not a direct extension of who you are as a service or brand then you’ve failed and everyone will know it. Remember, authenticity counts.

Be aware of how other services harness the power of social media for their own ends. Those who do it best, blend in. Groupon locks into social media (which is good as traditional media isn’t their forte) and leverages the consumer’s community. They use social channels to announce their deals but buyers still go TO them to close that deal, which is then announced on social media. A conversation grows up around the purchase, but the transaction itself is made outside of social media.

APPS: FURTHER TOOLS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

You also need knowledge of the products built to work with these channels to help you achieve your goals. As social media platforms grow, apps arrive to deliver more value for community members, be it photo sharing apps or link shorteners. Users dictate which apps please them most and adopt through usage. Eventually, the providers integrate these user-approved features.

SOCIAL MEDIA:  TOOLS, NOT SHOES

You can’t shoehorn your campaign into social media. The job is crafting your marketing using the social media tools and they’re there to help you reach your goals, not to be a necessary evil. It has to be organic. If social media aren’t part of your plan in the first place, don’t try to force them in later. It won’t be seen as genuine, and authenticity is key. If you can’t make it work, take the effort and money to other channels where your message will work. People will still find you.

Not everything in digital marketing is “social media,” but that doesn’t mean you don’t need digital, and it doesn’t mean you don’t need social media. You just need the right group to show you how.

Have a social media story to share? Was it a success? Was it a nightmare? Hit us back…

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