Gone are the days of only doing big ad buys and traditional methods of creating awareness. Today’s consumer is a living, breathing socialite that hungers for community and association. Social Media is the most effective ways to engage with these consumers, and encourage them to share their experiences.

Four Properties of information flow in Social Networking Sites:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Durability
  3. Traceability
  4. Scalability

 Communities evolve, and often times it takes a while to get started, do not worry, a good community is worth waiting for. For it to happen quicker, all channels of the businesses communication must be aligned and dedicated to spreading the word to build the online community.

Embracing Social media doesn’t mean you should abandon everything you’ve learned about how to promote a business, but it does require you to challenge a few of the practices you’ve probably been observing for years.

A brand means something to your customers, and the relationship between the brand and those customers needs to be nurtured. The best way to describe the function of social media is that it effectively brings down many of the walls in between a brand and the customer. Social media is about enabling conversations among your audience or market. As a business you cannot try to control those conversations, you can only influence them. This means that your audience really owns your brand. They will determine what your brand or your company means to them and the value it has in their lives. The public has always had the power, social media simply enhances their power, but at the same time it enhances yours as well.

With social media tools it is important to define your business in the context of content. Content is paramount and it consists of;

  1. Products and services you promote on the internet
  2. Expertise you Package
  3. Things you allow or encourage your audience to contribute à Videos, Pictures, Comments
  4. Conversations about your content that you enable, influence and archive

A strong community does not necessarily mean a large community. Many businesses that attempt social media make the mistake of measuring their success with social media by the number of visitors they attract to their websites, the number of listeners of their podcasts, the number of views they get on You Tube etc. A lot of traffic is exactly what you want if you are looking to make a living through advertising. But if you want to sell your product or service, you want the right kind of traffic. This means that you need to think carefully about your audience and how they might behave differently from one community to another.

Five behaviors that make or break an online community:

People will become active co-producers or content contributors, playing an active role in your community

People will comment on content that you or someone else in the community has created, or they will post reviews, feedback, or links to other content that they believe your community might find helpful

People will refer your content to friends or colleagues. This behavior has viral value; the fact is that this referral can be made from a positive or negative perspective.

People will simply view your content, not unlike tourists passing through town who stop at a local shop, browse a bit, and then take off.

People will ignore your content

The goal is to experiment with the ways to get people to move into your community and become active members. Behaviors 1-3 are desirable, behavior 4 is just ok, and behavior 5 is the most common one people will exhibit towards your content if you do not place priority on quality instead of just quantity.

So, Why Social Media? Gone are the days where push tactics resonate with the general public and target audience. Building a community based upon trust, interesting content and respect for clientele now fosters a much more real ROI. Check out our last post “Creating a socially engaged community” for more support on the topic of Why Social Media?

Why has your company or organization adopted a social strategy, we are always interested to see how you are achieving your bottom line goals through the use of building a social platform! Let us know below in the comments section or softly toss a tweet at us.

Cheers mates!

Special thanks to PlayingInternet.com and Rachel “the Conductor” for use of the “Why” image