We’ve covered social media extensively here at Smallbiztechnology.com, and currently have a survey going on to see which social media channels are readers use. You may know how to use, how to manage it, and how to measure your social media campaigns. But, do you know how to make that human connection through your social media channels, and to build your brand with them?
Amy Jo Martin, founder of Digital Royalty, says in the Harvard Business Review that the small business investment and emphasis on social media needs to focus less on monetization and more humanization. By humanization, Martin means the channels designed to meet your target audience and to listen to them like people.
“I can just re-use my traditional marketing in social media channels.” Wrong. Traditional branding focuses on logos. Social media branding must be focused on people. Humanize your brand is the golden rule of social media, because humans connect with humans, not logos. Traditional marketing has always approached branding as a way to control the message. Certainly the executives who are asked to share themselves and their personalities through social media struggle becoming comfortable with this (except maybe Shaq). But it’s crucial for a brand to provide access to its personalities in some capacity because logos have zero ability to socialize. Controlled messages are distrusted in a world where social media can expose them so quickly. Revealing the people behind your brand builds trust. Trust is the first step to building loyalty.
When putting together a social media campaign, or evaluating them, you shouldn’t worry so much about generating tons of leads or followers, or about making money from it. It’s about using social media to address the problems of your target audience, to build the brand and to build those relationships. After all, if you don’t do it, competitors will. If you’re not taking the time to build your brand and to give your brand an identity, your competitors or your customers will. Your customers may say good things, but they also might not. Your competitors certainly won’t. You can spend your time reacting to that information and commentary on social media, or you can be proactive and create that resonance yourself. James Coleman does a good job of explaining how each social media site can be used for business.
Notice how none of them say “market products/services.” Notice the words Coleman does use, words like “engaging”, “sharing,” “networking,” “creating,” and “promoting.” Essentially, social media is another marketing tool, yes. But, social media is also a marketing tool with a human expectation. People expect another person is composing those tweets and putting those status updates together. If all you’re doing is marketing, then you’re not doing it right.