Sometimes concepts become buzzwords so quickly it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really being talked about. “Social Media” is a great example. Ask different people and you’ll likely get examples rather than answers; it’s Facebook, it’s Twitter, it’s blogging, etc… Herein lies some of the uncertainty surrounding Social Media – a universal definition and set of rules has yet to be established. Brands have realized that they need to be involved in Social Media, but they can’t figure out how. They often find themselves in the position of either not fully understanding why they are doing Social Media or worse yet, thinking they are doing it when they are not.
Put simply, Social Media is people engaging, participating and sharing online. Straight-forward enough, right? Now consider that ‘people’ includes your brand. Just because your brand has a Facebook page does not mean that your brand is doing Social Media. Social Media isn’t a line item like a media channel on the Marketing budget. It’s an activity. If your brand is not actively engaged in your Social Media efforts, you are doing it wrong. By the way, having an intern monitor your Twitter account trying to increase your followers doesn’t count.
Social Media is about creating engagements with your customers. It’s not ad exposures or email open rates – it is creating opportunities for your customers to talk to and about you, preferably in an ongoing way. Ideally, in a cross-network way. Your customers should have an opportunity to engage and talk about you where they already are: Facebook, Twitter or whatever comes next, not where you just set up a new profile. Embrace and engage them where they already are. Ignite them – give them something to do - something to talk about. Give advocates rewards and recognition. Act like a host. Listen. Be interesting. Be social.
“Be social” – “Social Media” … now that makes sense; less buzzword, more meaning. But, is it too simple perhaps? What else comes to mind when you hear about brands’ successful “Social Media” efforts?