Look, Listen and Love
As we head into 2011, we can safely say that to be effective within online PR , marketing, and communication we need to be social. It’s not that strange. Humans are social by nature. We’ve been interacting with each other using a set of shared values and expectations since the dawn of civilization, and boiled down to its essence, an online social network is just another medium to advance this instinctual need in people to connect and engage with others of their ilk.
But when companies decide to enter this realm as a brand or corporate entity, this otherwise natural process of engaging in social media can seem a bit contrived and artificial. We’ve seen that more and more companies are becoming eager to join the social web. Many have indeed taken the plunge only to find themselves in the shallow end with meager results, at which point they either become complacent or get disheartened.
Most companies are not global brand leaders with the ability to attract millions of followers or
influencers on the strength of their name alone. They realize they are faced with the somewhat daunting task of actually building their online social network, on their audience’s terms. This means attracting influencers and potential brand ambassadors by sharing valuable, relevant, and sought-after information.
Remember to ask why
The problem is that companies often join social networks without actually understanding why they are taking part. It becomes a matter of “everyone’s doing it, so we must do it too, and as quickly as possible.” And many companies forget that they have to start from their audience’s point of view, rather than from their own.
Therefore, to the outsider, a company’s failed attempt to engage their audience in online social networks adversely affects their brand image.
And so, how do you as a company build an online social network of influencers? How can you leverage these influencers to become loyal brand ambassadors in the digital media landscape? There are some fantastic success stories of companies doing just this. They attract influencers using effective “pull” methods, which in layman’s terms means engaging your target audience on their own terms.
The responsibility lies with you, the communicator, the PR professional, or the online marketer. You are your company’s main link to this social media world and will be one of the faces of your brand in these social networks. Outlined below is a guide to building this network of followers and influencers. Regardless of which platforms you engage your social network on, the process is similar: look, listen, and love.
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