Social Media was once an scary area to venture into for many businesses, in fact most have stayed away due to the lack of understanding the value that it brings to their business. Many companies asked themselves whether it was even worth the time and resources or was it really a viable option. What many businesses did not understand was how intricately tied their social media activity is to their core branding. Even today, when just about everyone recognized that they need to get social, it is often more about following the band-wagon than about truly understanding the fundamentals.
Everybody Is Doing It
The reality is that if the older generations are starting to actively use something as “new” and dynamic as social media, then the impact it has already made on younger generations is completely irreversible. Social media has become a part of everyone’s life and it is something that influences their daily existence. Social media has played a big role with how people interact with each other and it is something that is not slowing down anytime soon, in fact there is more traffic on FaceBook than Google & Yahoo combined!
But while this is a compelling enough reason for many, it does not get to the reason behind the social boom and to the true nature of it. Social media is really just the 21st century version of two concepts as old as marketing itself: Public Relations and Branding. We will discuss PR in a future post and focus on branding for the moment.
People like Branding
This is just a reality; people enjoy being part of a business that brands themselves proactively. Studies have shown that customers in certain verticals would rather give their money to a business with an active Facebook Fan Page rather than without. People tend to get that warm and fuzzy feeling when they see a business building a community for themselves. Why is this the case? Simple, it speaks to some of the most primal emotions present in humans. We are indeed a highly tribal and group oriented species, so many of the same cognitive functions that cause us to be patriotic, to root for our home football team or to defend our family also happen to light up when we are engaging with the Coca Cola “clan” by showing a preference for their product and its associated brand image.
Community Is Everything
Everything online has really converged on the concept of building a community that can also conveniently act as a group of cheerleaders that can vouch for your business. Since people like to feel like they are a part of something unique and special, community strength as part of a distinct group is a very powerful branding force that can significantly grow a business on and offline. As a business builds an online social community and works to leave the imprint of its branding on it, through value and engagement, it essentially creates a powerful psychological bond with every person in that group, one that will consistently influence customer behavior far more than any clever commercial or sweet discount.
Truly social media is an amazing way to grow an online brand in leaps and bounds it simply takes creativity, passion and consistency to keep things moving in the right direction. If you have not yet entered the social media space take the time to start thinking about a plan of action and begin building your online community today.