In 1997 I was looking for something exciting and new and was determined to move back to NY from South Florida and get back into the action. I decided this new thing called the “Internet” was the way to go. I read an article about Seth Godin and since he mentioned he was always on the lookout for talent I was determined to work with him at his start-up Yoyodyne. I sent resumes to probably 100 companies and when Yoyodyne called I knew it was meant to be.
I’ve had a front row seat to the evolution of online marketing from what was traditional media and commerce first experiencing the move to digital, which was nothing more than simple communication and catalog tools, to full fledged digital commerce and communication… and now scaled Social Communication which so wonderfully incorporates this Relationship component that is for me, the ultimate value.
I feel the biggest challenge facing the industry is integrating accountability and measurement with an understanding that the true value of Social Media is the ability to engage, interact and build long-term relationships for brands. Whether those relationships are built directly or via interactions with the few, observed and appreciated by the many.
We all have the opportunity now to build a personal brand and express and share our ideas. My blogging success is totally due to the emergence of this unique and extraordinary publishing platform call Twitter… maybe you have heard of it ;-). Twitter helps me to think things through, express, and wrap my arms around ideas before writing a post. It also allows me to express my thoughts at a moment’s notice… and preserve and develop ideas as they come to me.
Social platforms, and our ability to communicate will continue to evolve. The marketing paradigm is shifting with much greater “power to the people” facilitated by social media. If you want to continue to reach your market, it’s not about advertising any more, but about building relationships. Just activating your audience, however, is not enough. A brand always needs to be working to keep valued influencer and advocate relationships alive and strong and build an emotional connection. Always remember that brand loyalty declines due to lack of relevance — this has been evident for years and is clearly a direct result of not listening… and NOT hearing when you do listen.
When building a social media presence, building relationships through engaging as many people by truly interacting with them, and doing what I call “looking them in the eye digitally,” is what will build value and loyalty for the long-term. Always keep in mind that Social media’s incredible power is in allowing us to instantaneously connect to, interact with, and build relationships with our audience of thousands to gain high-value end results… but if you do not make them feel valued and speak to them on their terms, and bring value to the table, the results will be underwhelming and you will not be utilizing social for its true value. It will just be another tool in the marketing toolbox.
Get started now. Do not wait to develop a comprehensive strategy, approach or voice… just jump in and start engaging and interacting. Get comfortable, listen, learn, find the passion points of your followers… and develop a strategy as you go. No matter how you start, if you are doing it right, it will change and evolve.