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COLUMN: Social media is changing the face of marketing

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Companies of all sizes are using social media marketing to put a face on their business.

Jeff Korhan | March 4, 2010

Companies of all sizes are using social media marketing to put a face on their business. They are recognizing that company logos are passive symbols of who they are. People are the interactive force that engages customers for sustainable periods of time. You feel like you know them, and so you trust them and the company they represent. Orville Redenbacher passed away over a decade ago, yet his image is still used to sell product. You are the face of the company your customers connect with. They see everything - all your imperfections that make you human. And this is exactly why they trust you, like you, and want to work with you. 

Are You a Good Wizard?

Putting your face in front of your company can be intimidating.  People will wonder if you are a good wizard or a bad wizard. In the classic film The Wizard of Oz, the wizard proves to be a good guy who is both interesting and willing to help. Dorothy came to that conclusion when she pulled back the curtain, which is exactly what you have to do. Use your blog and social media presence to show us what makes you interesting.  If you are interesting and you are a leader in your company, then by definition your company is interesting. This attracts customers to you and keeps them engaged.

I did some work last year with Josh Schmieder, owner of Josh Lawn Care and Landscaping in Rochester, New York. Josh is strategically building a thriving landscape business and a community of loyal fans that support him. He is personable, involved in the community, and passionate about growing his business. He’s also passionate about the rodeo and bull riding –and he’s not even from Texas. I was fascinated by this, and from what I can tell from his Facebook page, so are a lot of other people. There are countless ways to connect; all you have to do is be interesting and interested in other people. Pull back the curtain so we can learn what makes you a good wizard.  To do this, go to facebook.com and let your hair down, reconnect with friends, and build a community that speaks to the value you bring to your endeavors.

The Visibility Trap
The big mistake I see with social media today is the quest for visibility. Don’t fall into the visibility trap.  It’s easy to be visible. The challenge is making that visibility pay off for you. This is why you need to have a solid social media strategy that is consistent with your business objectives. Are you trying to attract thousands of fans? If so, then Twitter, the popular micro-blog is probably an excellent choice for you. If your market is upscale or exclusive in some way, then blogging or Facebook may be more appropriate networks. However you decide to build your community, the key is to be clear about your message and communicate it with purpose.

I’m working with several companies that initially said they were interested in social media but just didn’t have the time to commit to it. No problem – just build a team that can share the respective duties of idea generation, story-telling, and use of technology. Even our friend Josh related this dilemma because he designs and sells all of the work for his business, which achieved a million-dollar milestone last year. Take your time and map out the implementation of your strategy. My recommendation is to create a system that you can consistently stick to. I create one solid blog post every week, while also taking a little extra time to add a short video. This multi-media format allows for reading, viewing, or just listening for those incurable multi-taskers.  I understand this multi-media format is more likely to hold the attention of a larger audience because I’m serving up my message in ways that work best for everyone. If you are interested in learning video-blogging, just go to jeffkorhan.com and look at the most recent posts or within the ‘How-To’ category. Feel free to make comments about what connects with you. This is another social media marketing tool you should consider. You see, blogging is a team sport. When you comment on other blogs with a message that is consistent with yours, you are tapping into new networks to build your community.

Building Valuable Relationships

I want to help you grow your business with this incredibly powerful social media platform. You can help by giving constructive feedback on this column. I will return the favor by writing about those topics you want to learn more about. I’ve been pleased to have a number of you connect with me on LinkedIn since the last column.

Congratulations on taking those first steps. That’s what all of this comes down to – taking control of your business growth and enjoying the process.  Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/jeffkorhan. Let me know how I can add value to our relationship. 

Jeff Korhan helps companies maximize marketing results by strategically building communities of loyal customers.  He can be reached at 630-774-8350 or speaker@truenature.com. Jeff blogs at www.jeffkorhan.com.

 
 

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