One of the key principles of social media is that it is, at heart, social.
Some people find this notion challenging, particularly if the drive to engage in social is motivated solely by its marketing potential.
Traditionally, we market via push messages – broadcasting outward to key audiences and consumers.
While we tend to think of social media as a set of interactive tools, social platforms actually provide virtual meeting places that invite two-way or even multi-way conversations.
Steve Dotto of Dotto Tech (www.dottotech.com) – “Canada’s favourite geek” – recently visited Maple Ridge to take part in a Social Media forum.
He put forward this helpful framework: Think of the Internet as a place, not a thing. You’re entering this place to interact with other people.
Your business or personal website or blog, social media platforms and other digital spaces are the online places where people connect with you, in much the same way as your shop, office or storefront function offline.
The online world is wonderfully diverse. Crowded with creative and interesting nerds, geeks and just plain folks, more than a billion conversations are taking place every minute.
Jumping into this melee requires unique, engaging, and authentic content that provides value to audiences, followers, fans, and friends.
Just like great conversations offline, the aim is to share perspectives, inform, educate, enlighten, or entertain.
The only way you can do this successfully is if you are very clear about the personality or identity of your brand or business.
What kind of voice do you have?
Are you formal and corporate, or are you whimsical?
What is the essence of your company? What is its purpose or mission? What best reflects you and the industry or business that you are in?
Asking these kinds of questions will help you define your online voice and develop a cohesive brand that is consistent across all touchpoints.
The answers will influence choices about online look and feel, logo and avatar colour and design, and content and posting choices.
Content should always further the digital story of your brand and be relevant to the audience.
For example, if you offer products that appeal to twenty-something environmentalists you will want to devise messages that reflect the core green values that you share with your customers.
Photos and visuals that depict nature’s unspoiled beauty and a casual and earthy look and feel would be appropriate.
Your posts should reinforce the answers to the “Why?” questions.
Why are you in business? Why this product or service? Why should we care?
If you can find a way to make the content entertaining, so much the better.
As humans, we love a good story, and we love to laugh.
What you are aiming for is a genuine human connection or bond between yourself (your company) and your fans and followers.
There is a great deal of hubbub in the digital environment and you want to create a signal that cuts through the noise and makes contact.
Finding your online voice and telling your story in a real way will not only help you build your brand, it will help you build a network of meaningful relationships in this noisy, crowded, vibrant place we call the world-wide web.
Vicki McLeod is one of the Social Chicks and can be found at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca.
The Social Chicks offer free monthly social media sessions for businesses through the Chamber of Commerce Serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. They resume in September, and people can find information by calling the chamber at 604-463-3366.
– Vicki McLeod is owner of Main Street Communications and is happy to answer questions. Send them to her through www.thesocialchicks.com
@ Copyright 2013