Beyond Social Networking

Beyond Social Networking

I love social media. I love seeing it bring people together from all over the globe, how it enables me to learn what other people in my industry are doing for their church or marketing clients, the way it develops relationships with people who were just a face and served me coffee to now friends that I respect and enjoy connecting with. Social networking has changed the way businesses promote themselves and interact with their customers too. Successful businesses bridge the gap between the way people use their products or services to getting to know who their business is and building a relationship with them.

Social networking is not limited to wall posts, tweets, and social interactions though. For businesses to harness the power of social media, it requires a strategy that directs every wall post, every tweet, and why they interact with their customers. Facebook and Twitter are not the same web platform. Creating a great Youtube clip and garnering thousands of plays is useless if those viewers are not converted to customers and fans. The greatest form of advertising will forever be word of mouth. People’s personal opinion carries far more weight than a Facebook Ad, a promoted Twitter account, or a viral video. Some statistics say that people are prone to share a good businesses experience with up to four other people while they are more likely to share a negative experience with at least ten people.

When people in the business school at the University of Washington ask me about my experience there and which teachers I liked, I will answer their question but then always add which teachers they should avoid like the bubonic plague. While I don’t remember every positive teacher’s name or what class they taught, I will never forget the ones I hated. Neither will your customers.

To go beyond social networking, a company needs to have a defined reason they entered in the first place. As someone once said, “Origin determines outcome.” Social media strategies are bigger than building awareness of your brand or attracting a lot of followers. It includes (but not limited to) offering customers an avenue to exchange, the opportunity to speak into the development process, to allow their voice to be heard–positive or negative–and then address those comments or concerns. Strategy takes your media from being the megaphone to the masses to listening for even that quiet whisper of caution.

Social networking’s success depends on your planning. Listen to your audience. Connect with your customers. And publish content that establishes you as an expert and thought leader in your field.

Social Media

7 responses to “Beyond Social Networking”

  1. Julia McCunn says:

    Thank you for this valuable information.

  2. Steven says:

    This is an excellent article and I appreciate the information you have shared. My concern is if we allow an open exchange of positive -and negative- feedback on social media, how do we control our brand image? Said another way, how do I make sure I am allowing fair and reasonable feedback but not allowing my social media feeds to be an outlet to hurt my brand? Thanks, keep up the great information!

  3. Hank says:

    straight to the point mate.
    I personally run and manage a MUD. It is a multiplayer online game, a virtual realm, however unlike most rpgs these days, it is text based. might seem boring, but actually it is much more fun as players are not limited by graphics and can use their imagination to experience the virtual world. Sorry for going off topic… 🙂

    Anyway, even though my game has a website, twitter account, and facebook page, the main way we get new real lasting players is through the word of mouth advertising by the curent players. Once a friend recomends something, it is more likely the person will give it a real try, then say, if he just saw an add or a post in facebook.

    again, great article!

  4. Mathew A. says:

    yeah, I definately agree that word of mouth is the best social way to get customers.
    Just look at Facebook or twitter. How did they get millions of fans/customers? Advertising? No.
    The correct answer is Word of mouth by the members of those sites. I still remember the day when a friend of mine said “Are you on Facebook?” and I, with a puzzled face, said “Am I on what?”. :). Then of course, during the same day I signed up. Of course it is a lousy example, as those sites have extremaly unique and revolutionary ideas behind them, but I think you get the idea.

  5. Kiel says:

    Really appreciable information shared !

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    a real business. Narration Long form narration is the
    hardest kind of voice over.

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