Recently, Milwaukee’s Phil Gerbyshak asked me to contribute to an e-book he was putting together, “11 Things You Need to Know about Social Media in 2013”. Take a look, it’s a great way to learn more about getting the most out of social media for your business from some pretty smart folks – people who are helping others figure out how to approach this new way of communicating and connecting.
What did I write about? Check page 14 for “Take the ‘Eww, gross,’ out of turning your insides out.”
I talk with a lot of people for whom social media, and using it for their business, is a great unknown. That’s why it’s important to step back, understand the opportunity and strategize how social media can best work for your business, and to remember one very important thing.
I think the thing that makes Social Media (capitalized as an “institution”) seem so complex for many businesses is a lack of understanding of the first word there … no, not “I” … though that bears particular relevance as well.
I’m talking about the word “social.”
That one simple word … social … doesn’t just refer to “social media” and the tools we use. It refers to the Web itself. To marketing as it has evolved today. The social Web has caused a monumental paradigm shift in the way we approach life, much less branding, marketing, friendship, learning, and on and on.
The Internet has become a social place.
Now, when we address brand development and conceptualize campaigns for businesses, we can do so in a multi-dimensional way. We talk more and more about breaking the fourth wall, taking the play off of the stage and mixing up with the audience. Now, social media – the social Web – gives us the means to personalize and connect with our audiences to build stronger bonds.
We socialize in person. We share things with people. We listen to each other. We tell stories. We bond over our common humanity and we build an attachment because we identify with each other’s values. The Internet lets us do that digitally, with one person or two, with people who trust us, with a thousand people and with a thousand more.
Some time ago, I posed a question to the folks who follow me on Twitter. “If you could offer one insight into using Twitter, what would it be?”
The resounding consensus was, “be human.”
For all of us, personally, professionally and through the brands that express our business’ identity, to be human is to understand our common values, the gears that make us tick and tock and smile and laugh and express joy, wonderment, attraction and attachment. It’s like Phil says in the e-book, “It will mean the death of the impersonal, transaction based businesses we all love to hate.”
Now back to those two words … “Social” and “I”.
We live in a digital world, fueled by a socially connected Web of media and almost endless ways to connect with our audiences. It’s one thing to develop a campaign around the social Web for The Walking Dead and something entirely different to do it for Spacely’s Sprockets or Cogwell’s Cogs. Either way, it’s high time to break the wall of advertising and start playing with our audiences, and give them the chance to play with us.
Colin is a PR and social strategist at Core Creative. Follow Colin on Twitter @colindeval.