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What the F@$& is Social Media?

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Discovery Social Media is about to open your eyes and make you very aware. The existence of Social Media (in it's simplest form) is a non-crude way for people to interact and communicate online. In the last 15 years, we’ve seen social media grow exponentially in its popularity. Social Media is called Social Media because it is the most primal form of socializing (conversations and commentary) in a new way.

It is easier to publish content now than it was several years ago which has helped to push social media through the roof. That being said, the majority of “baby boomers” are now able to easily create content on, a rapidly growing number of platforms, including those that are hosted environments, blogs, and social networks.

Today’s world wide web has shifted from a “one-on-one“ to “one-to-many” to  "many-to-many" engagement, and it is incredible. (You can no longer hide! The internet does not forget and rarely forgives.)

For many individuals (including myself), social media is a great way to keep in touch with your family (if you can stand them), your long-lost friends and spy on your kids (I highly recommend this last one). For businesses, the level of online consumerism and the elevation of social media brings an incredible opportunity to businesses.

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Without realizing,  consumers supply an incredible amount of raw data through social media that have people like me (social media gurus) doing the ‘happy, happy’ dance. But it is not just the ‘happy, happy’ dance that makes me successful in this industry that I fell into by mistake. It is the fact that I am able to build and grow long-lasting relationships online through social media.

What do you mean building and growing long-lasting relationships online through social media? Please, don’t sleep on the fact that you’re building relationships, on social media. It is just as important on-line as it is building your relationships in real-life. The thing about building your relationships online, it gives you an incredible opportunity to build lasting, scalable relationships with your customer base, something that keeps you in the money.  It is so important to understand that just as your customers’ behaviour shifts, so does the expectations from them of yours.

Whether you’re listening, engaging or not, customers are having conversations about your business and operation (you may think not, but oh-oh, they are). Now I don’t know about you, but if someone is talking about me, I like to be a part of the conversation, so that I can make sure the information is right. I believe it’s better to be a part of the conversation than trying to figure out what was said later.

I’ve had people say to me; Social media is a fad, right? after I stop my eyeballs from rolling around in my head (like a pinball) and re- adjust my jaw, I calmly explain as well as I can that social media is not a fad, there has been an explosion of massive growth in social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram and so forth. It's safe to say that the era that we’re in, is the era of social media - so no, Social Media is not a fad and the need for social media in business will only become stronger as time goes by. The whole world has seen the impact of the expansion and adoption of social media tactics, and the rising stats speak for themselves.

Another question I hear a lot of is this; Why does my company need social media? I mean it’s not like I’m a 16-year-old.  Sometimes, I feel like I should just walk around with a sign that says - Don’t speak, unless well informed.

Look, whether you’re running a small operation, or heading a global one, your customers are online. They are interacting with their friends and colleagues - online, which means YES! you need to be online, REMEMBER: BE A PART OF THE CONVERSATION.

There are tons of opportunities to add value—even to delight!—and making that connection can help build a person's relationship with a company, brand, or representative. Those relationships create the foundation for what can eventually become one of your greatest marketing assets: customer advocacy.

If you ever find yourself in a bind, your advocates will help remind the rest of the world who they're rooting for. Advocacy is not something that you can stumble upon or buy. Advocacy is earned over time through continuous and positive engagement with your customer base. It is earned through experiences that delight, and through the delivery of the highest class of customer service.

Consumers of today are looking for information about brands, recommendations - where to eat, party, sleep and travel. If your company is not on social media, I guarantee you, your competitor is, which means if they are doing their job on social media (because they hired me), they’ll maneuver that customer away from you unless it’s your mom.

Social media provides you a slew of opportunities to add incredible value to your business and a chance to delight your customer(s). When you make a connection online you are building a relationship with a company, brand, or representative. Understand this, if you think this is cumbersome and you don’t have time for it, you are throwing away precious opportunities to create a foundation for what can eventually become one of the most unbelievable marketing assets that will propel you forward: customer advocacy, is key to money in your bank account.

Have you ever seen Utopia or Nirvana, yeah, me neither, but customer advocacy on social media is the closest thing to nirvana as you’re ever going to get. It is through this kind of relationship that you will see that those efforts didn’t go to waste. When you start building and experiencing true customer advocacy, you will see that your customers are doing what the majority of people do and do well, you will see them brag and brag and brag about their experiences and give their massive opinions to their network’.

You’ve heard about word-of-mouth, and how it is the best form of advertising. Well, pull up your big boy/girl underwear because this is where you will experience it. This my dear readers is the best kind of sharing (if it’s positive) you can have for marketing your brand (can you hear the Ka-Ching).  Maybe a better question is, why wouldn't your company use social media?

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Identifying potential advocates is a good first step. You can use social tools (many of which are outlined in the rest of this guide), site data, customer data, and even your own observations to help you pick out which customers are likely to go to bat for your brand. You'll want to figure out what is most important to those potential advocates. What are they looking for? Are they fishing for recognition? Are they excited by exclusive access to news and/or content? Figure out what type of advocates your brand attracts and find ways to recognize them for their advocacy. It is important to note, that most of your greatest community relationships will be built organically. While your research and brand knowledge encourages people and helps you put the right foot forward, relationships take time. This is not a one night stand hit it and quit it mission, this getting to know you, getting to know all about you - Yup that song from the King and I - Sung by Julie Andrews (now), Originally Sung by Marni Nixon, Lipsynced by Deborah Kerr.

This song explains exactly how social media and well, how life works as well.

Many think that Social Media is the magic bullet to their purpose, but it isn't Social Media is about building relationships and trust.

This 10 part Series - A Beginner's Guide to Social Media - is going to hold your hand and walk you step by step through the process of building your Social Media Online presence. If you're new to Social Media, or just want to brush up to make sure that you haven't overlooked anything, then this is where you want to start.




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