Going social

There is natural suspicion and confusion about the importance and return on time spent on developing your online brand using ‘social media’.

Recent high profile news stories involving Manchester United banning their players from Twitter and Coca Cola issuing guidelines on Twitter use demonstrate how leading brands remain nervous the interactive and uncontrollable nature of the medium.

Even the terms of reference – ‘social media’ and ‘social marketing’ – are themselves misleading titles for the technology that allows you to build contacts, links, friends, followers and fans on the major networks. (In marketing circles, social marketing typically refers to campaigns built around public awareness, public information and or public safety).

Companies are pondering whether there is a return on investment from social media, or if it is just a gimmick.

The simple undeniable truth is that the Internet is here to stay. It is the first resource for suppliers, customers, job seekers and anyone researching a purchase or looking for a recommendation.

Sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube attract users in their millions for strong psychological reasons, namely the need to belong and share.

The plethora of experts queuing up to offer advice fall into two camps. They either tell everyone they should be doing it, or telling most people not to bother. I believe elements of social media can be useful to everyone and every type of business or organisation.

Careful and coordinated use of some of these resources can give you untold visibility, help give you and your enterprise credibility, help you engage with customers, prospects and suppliers, and drive traffic to your website and aid conversion. Check out this post from September 2009 if you are starting out now.

Think strategically, start small, and don’t spend a whole amount of time on it. That way, going social can be effective for you.

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