RAZOR BRANDING BLOG: Does Social Media Matter?

Does Social Media Matter?

It is almost impossible to open a magazine or watch the news without hearing about Social Media and how it is helping, or hurting, business today.

What can social media do for you and more importantly why should you care?

Well to answer that question properly, we first have to discuss branding, as it pertains to business – not cattle. To understand what a brand is, we have to realize what it is not.

A brand is not a company.

A brand is not a logo.

A brand is not a product.

Quite simply, a brand is a person’s emotional response to a product. It’s the product’s reputation in the heart and mind of the consumer.

Why is branding so important? When consumers are making decisions about a purchase, they can be overwhelmed by too many choices, with no differentiation between products, and have to rely on their feeling about a company when making a selection.

Their gut feeling is shaped by the promise that a company has made and the expectation that the consumer has about the experience. When the expectation is met or exceeded, then trust will be formed. Trust promotes loyalty and loyalty leads to advocacy.

So, what is your brand?

You have to start with Focus – define the one differentiating and powerfully compelling quality that makes your brand razor sharp.

Next is Connection – connect with your audience by establishing your voice and defining your message.

Now you have to tie it together with Harmony – unify your brand by developing branded touchpoints that work to establish trust.

The ultimate goal is to change the conversation to make an emotional connection that will drive consumers to choose you.

Companies used to have only traditional media to broadcast their message. Now you don’t have to just broadcast it anymore.

With social media you can have a conversation, create a connection, develop a relationship, form a tribe, most importantly, you can build a brand.

Maybe you think that your consumers aren’t on the Internet? According to Inc. Magazine, January 2009, “In 2008, 90% of purchases were made after research online.”

So, when your consumers are researching an upcoming purchase, what will they find when they Google your name? You should find out.

Keep your ear to the ground, proverbially speaking, and listen for your name and your competitors through the use of Alerts. Utilize an RSS reader to subscribe to industry blogs and stay up to date.

Engage with your consumers in the places where they spend their time – Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Plaxo and so many more. Learn to speak their language and have conversations with them.

You can recruit new employees and use social media to get to know more about them, what they are doing and who they are doing it with before you ever have the first interview.

Social media is revolutionizing business the same way that the invention of the television changed advertising.

What will you do with these new tools today?

Jaci Russo

Sr. Partner/Brand Strategist

The Russo Group

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