It seems that everywhere I turn, people are talking about Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Social networking has finally reached the mainstream.
This past week, I spoke to some business owners at an NACDB (National Association of Church Design Builders) member meeting in Phoenix about this “new” phenomenon. It was interesting to watch emotions (anything from excitement, to concern, to fear) around the room.
For the most part, I don’t think that the average business owner understands traditional Marketing and Branding. And in the middle of trying to explain the force behind consistent brand in printed materials, advertising and websites, we always have a lot of “aha!” moments.
But now, just as businesses finally understand this; social networking enters the picture.
And it seems to be something that is not easily understood in the 50+ age group.
This is something that was developed and used by kids to keep in touch with friends. But how does it work for business? Is it a time waster like so many people assert?
Traditional marketing can be simplified into 3 processes 1) Determining audience, 2) Distribution of message and 3) Listening.
So what if I told you that Facebook (or any other social networking site) did these well. And perhaps even better than traditional mediums.
- Determining Audience: This marketing process finds like-minded consumers who identify with a product’s benefits. Usually that can be discovered by finding a brand evangelist and seeing who they associate with. Facebook does this for you! Social Networking is a collection of “friends” – and one of the definitions of friendship is “people who have similar interests”. So the chances are, if someone discusses or promotes a product on their Facebook account, their friends will be interested too.
- Distribution of Message: This is a bit tricky, but think about all the “viral” videos you see online. This is the easiest way to connect with the Web 2.0 crowd. Create something that someone will find cool about your product – humor always works well – and makes it easy for distribution. The magic of Facebook will happen.
- Listening: Web 2.0 isn’t just about telling. It’s about listening too. This is often forgotten when it comes to traditional marketing. We have to be listening to feedback. The joy of Facebook is that you can have interlocking webs of friends who can get your message all around the world – and you can get instant feedback about it.
Don’t have a Facebook account yet? Start with that first, get a handle on how things work on it. Then start to think about a group page and how you can create a communication strategy to get your message out.
It’s a wonderful tool. And best, it’s free to setup! Let us know if we can help you with your strategy. Or comment and suggest some ideas. It’s a fun, ever-changing world out there!