So why is social media important to your online brand communications, or internet marketing, or inbound marketing, or content marketing - whatever you want to call it? You get the idea - it goes by many names with many facets. For the purposes of this post I’ll refer to it mainly as online brand communications.
When you really break it down into its simplest parts, what does it look like? What is at the heart of this kind of social marketing?
The basics about the appeal of online brand communications for businesses begins here:
Communication and Relationships
It all revolves around communication and relationships. Communication is the vehicle driving connection with others to form relationships (both personal and business relationships).
Friends, and friends of friends
Users of social media do so to stay in touch with friends (maintaining relationships with digital communication through a social media platform that makes it easy to do so). Users also use social media to discover new information and people (often being introduced to friends of friends in their current network - sharing and communicating among them, which exponentially spreads communications and builds farther reaching relationships - this leads us into the next bullet point)
Heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend
Discovery plays a significant role in social media and certainly in online brand communications for businesses. For each relationship maintained online, that person is a potential source of new information that can be shared with you easily because the two of you are connected online and the social media platform makes it convenient to review newly posted info from one another and others with whom you have relationships. So for example, if you and I are friends online, you likely have a whole bunch of other friends or connections online beyond me, most of whom I’m likely not directly connected to. I’m only peripherally connected by my association with you, and the same is true for you with many of my connections. Because of these varying degrees of separation and the ease of transferring communication among friends and friends of friends (due to exponential levels of direct and indirect connections) social media platforms make it easy to rapidly discover new info shared by you, your friends and your friends’ friends.
Word of mouth on steroids
Because information can be shared rapidly and exponentially across social media platforms, by way of these one to one online connections that often have vast additional indirect connections of friends by association, so many observers can see and spread the original one to one message quickly like word of mouth on steroids. That quick and rapid reach of messages delivered in a word of mouth fashion, and the cost-effective use of online social media platforms, makes this way of communicating and building business relationships attractive to companies.
Recommended reading: Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (New Rules Social Media Series), By Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah
posted by: Nick Venturella
I'm a big fan of David Airey's site and design blog. He just recently posted a blog about a logo design request he received, similar to other job requests he receives from time to time. This request had the potential client telling David exactly what they want their logo to look like, and that they essentially just need a designer to execute their design.
The point of hiring a designer to help create and develop your company's logo is to utilize someone's creative talents and experience (a skilled designer) to work with you and offer a design that is better than anything you could have come up with on your own. If you already know what you want why would you pay someone else a bunch of money to execute the design?
Leave the creative heavy lifting to the experts. A good designer will want your input and will listen to your thoughts and concerns. From there it will be apparent that the designer understood what you wanted and pushed your vision further than you could have on your own.
That's why you hire a designer, or a writer, or someone to help you build a strategy, because they have talent and experience and a creative approach that can elevate your initial thought of what could be in these realms. Otherwise, you're really just looking for someone to simply execute your own ideas, which is totally fine, but if you're not really an experienced designer, writer or marketer the end result may be less than it could be.
I will say that I am a proponent of empowering solopreneurs and small businesses with tips, tools and advice to help them discover and/or create their own marketing materials as a result of their small budget and need for cost-effective solutions. This usually becomes a learning tool for the small business - they learn enough to be dangerous and get what they need done for the time being (and some actually find that they have some talent in these areas, which is great), but most do what they need to for their businesses current start-up necessities and move toward hiring a professional as they build their company beyond those beginning stages that required such tight reigns on various costs.
The result is they learn a bit about what goes into the design, writing and marketing strategy-building process and they gladly hire an experienced brand communications specialist to do the heavy lifting with a better understanding of what they're paying for.
Social media is amoral
So, I’ve recently enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (Amazon affiliate), which is a 91 day personal finance course. I do alright with my personal finance, but I’m always looking to improve.
One thing that really resonated with me in the first session was Ramsey’s description of money as being amoral. Amoral, means something is neither good, nor bad, it simply is. Ramsey speaks of money being amoral, neither good, nor bad, but it’s what we as humans do with it that makes it seem good or bad. The choices we make with money to become greedy jerks, wealthy goodhearted folks, poor resentful people or working class good souls is up to us as humans - the money just is, it doesn’t care one way or another, it’s amoral.
That got me thinking about social media, and many business’ fear of the chaos that realm may bring onto their brand. Social media is amoral, it’s neither good, nor bad, but what businesses do with their marketing and online brand communications in that arena could impact your company and it’s brand in a positive or negative way.
Something to think about.
Posted by: Nick Venturella
The following is a visual representation of an Online Brand Communications content strategy. This is an attempt to help visualize and somewhat simplify the flow of info/content in such a strategy.
Let me know your thoughts by commenting.
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posted by: Nick Venturella