The internet is progressing into a social medium.
That doesn’t mean that the web is ALL social. Of course, the internet will always be used to find information. It was invented for research and will always have that as its core, an open window toward needed or desired knowledge. It will also always be a place for commerce, as buyers and sellers will meet in a world-wide marketplace for goods and services. But over and above commerce and research, it has become a place for real time (or close to real time) interaction. Even if an entity’s primary function is to sell things or to provide information, both are impacted by people’s desire to interact.
A Shift is Buying Culture
Businesses have recognized this and most have been successful in building and maintaining a company website. In fact, new companies are often looking to see if their unique domain name is available before settling on a name for their company. Customers have come to expect to be able to type in fragments of what they know about a company into a search engine and find their website to get more information. All of that is old news. What is new is that customers, prospects and stakeholders have the expectation to dialogue with companies and they expect to do so directly.
Companies have options available to them in order to initiate and engage the dialogue. Each tool has different characteristics and does not have to be launched simultaneously with the others.. However, each medium when used, provides an edge over competitors who choose not to use these tools. It will always be to a company’s advantage to be every single place that their prospect might be. Given that fact, a company’s marketers have to decide whether or not it is worth forgoing potential contact with prospects and customers, by using some of the tools and not others. Assuming that a company has its website for official company news and factual information, here are some other weapons that a firm can employ to solidify its brand. Just a quick look at two of the hundreds:
A blog is also a website that a company owns and maintains, but serves as a time stamped journal of their activities. It differs from the corporate website in that it provides readers a way of interacting with the information. The interaction between readers and writers forms a community for feedback and problem solving. Construction and equipment manufacturer Caterpillar uses its blog to work with industry experts, customers and management to improve its products and processes. It is an excellent example of what is possible when a company chooses to build and engage a community around its products and services.
Social Media Platform Sites: Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest
Social media platforms have inherent in them social dialogue, but their power comes in personal engagement in new projects and ventures. Companies use these platforms to get “followers” or “likes” about the things that they are planning and doing. These platforms work best when a company is doing things that are new (and ‘cool’), and if everyone knew about them, it would be of benefit to the company and those who found out about it. Companies effectively share the thoughts from their blog, website and other real time news in hopes that others will share it with their social network of friends. Manufacturers such as Livescribe and Samsung use their social media platforms to expose new insights, products and services to their following as well as to engage in areas of customer service and research.
Multimedia venues such as YouTube add the dimension of visual demonstration to a corporate brand. Companies like Cisco, are able to engage those who want to see their research as it is happening as well as to envision what the new products and services may look like when they are launched. YouTube channels are at their best in building anticipation in those who have an interest in a company’s research.
Companies like Blendtec add a fun element to attract prospects into their marketing funnel. How exactly does a company get someone excited about paying over $400 for a blender? A look at the Blendtec’s YouTube channel will offer some clues.
Because each social platform does something entirely different, a company that decides to use one but not another misses an opportunity to interact in a unique dialogue. Each one adds a very special dimension to the relationship building process. Do you have a community for improvement built around your products and services? Do you a way to let their friends know about the really cool things you have coming in the future? Can you visually demonstrate what makes your product special amid all of the noise in media, television and the news?
The choice is yours to make.
Republished by Blog Post Promoter