In my field of work you become aware to many different guides from many different people about the prominent rise of their clients' brands on social media. In fact, this field has become clustered with too many different programs, using various marketing buzz words and abbreviations to the point that the underlying concept has indeed been buried.
As a person who has delved into this sector since a dissertation into the area that cracked the University board's metaphorical monacles in a wake-up call to the presence of this critical asset in today's online space, I've become aware of one thing. These books and guides are over-complicating what is needed, hiding the solution and are, therefore, incorrect. Allow me to throw in my two cents of simplification into this predicament.
Social media, with all its bells and whistles, still boils down to the core idea of one person talking to another.
A business acting as they do in their respective market is incompatible with social media, and the over-ease of granting them tools to use it as so, while producing company profiles of those much bigger in terms of status and assets than yourself is not helping the situation. The likes of Facebook and Twitter comprise of two different bases of interaction:
- Communicating to several
- Communicating to one with several watching
Of course, social networking has exploded beyond that into a territory of expressing yourself through the template of a profile; but everything you do still works around these two types of communication. You'd think this idea would extend naturally to be applied at a corporate level, to maintain communication beyond what is possible through the predecessors of business channels. But this couldn't be further from the truth.
It's why for all the brands you may or may not opt to follow, like or whatever choice of verb-related subscription, there's only a few that 'feel' genuine in their output. It's that secret formula you can't quite put your finger on, which isn't really secret when you think about and apply it to your own social presence. The individual is probably the most prosthetic, yet most genuine voice on the internet. Through the opportunity to edit what is put out/uploaded (my habit is to delete statuses after a couple days without likes), you manage to form a streamlined version of your personality, that puts your symbolic best foot forward.
The individual is probably the most prosthetic, yet most genuine voice on the internet.
And that is, essentially, what's missing from social media strategy for businesses, buried underneath ROI, viral reach and various other pieces of needless statistical data: personality in its most functional of form. Every company, after you remove the restriction of being a 'business,' has key characteristics that form this caricature for people to form a deeper bond with. You don't need to publicly name the people behind the scenes to make things seem 'personal,' as the brand can seem personal if you just stick to your convictions and act like a human being.
Some of this does overlap with some ideas that other 'gurus' in this area discuss, and no-one (not even me after this rant) can offer a clear cut strategy to succeed in this area. So I urge you, dear reader, to not purchase a book that says it can offer you the solution and bring you to social media prosperity for a company, when you really already know what is needed. Define a personality and stick to it religiously by connecting and talking to the people relevant to you. It's simple stuff like this that gets ignored and ends with a characterless presence.
They don't call it 'earned' media because you made your thousands of followers based off the likes of #Followback campaigns and various amounts of bought influence (I'm guilty of using #Followback, and know of many brands who have bought likes...don't think it's not obvious).
It's the personality: this qualitative measure that will increase engagement and make for a rather formiddable presence that, while slow-growing comparing to opening your wallet, is one of the closest audiences you can have for your content beyond any kind of response to advertising or promotional initiatives.
Put your true colours on show, in the most false way possible. Contradictory yet simple.