This is a guest post from Kristin Dziadul, a recent college graduate with a marketing major, she is the 2009 New England Direct Marketing Association scholarship recipient, and has a strong passion for marketing and social media and blogs at www.KDmedianow.com. She is also a big Boston sports fan!
Social media has revolutionized the way that companies are now interacting with their target market. However, in order to be a successful player in the social media field, you must be seen as a thought-leader with a personality. This is not an easy task to accomplish, since so many companies are now invading social sites every day. I believe that creating an impressionable personality through your social media communications is a huge key to good relationship building.
How, then, can a company create a personality via the Internet? I find it more important than ever for a brand to convey a specific and memorable personality so that consumers can picture the person behind the company. Today, consumers do not want to do business with a company that does not care to interact with them. Instead, they prefer to buy from companies that are willing to reach out to them and hear their feedback.
Companies must begin, if they have not already, to develop their own community in which consumers can engage in meaningful communication, whether this is a ning community, blog, or community forum. This will not only help the company gain an understanding of customers' needs and problems, but they can get a good sense of the company's personality. For example, imagine meeting someone and conversing with them, but never really knowing too much about them personally. You know what they studied in school and you know their general hobbies, but nothing more than that. What a boring friend! The same goes for a business; consumers want to know who they are giving their money to and interacting with on a deeper level.
When developing relationships with these consumers, it is critical to ensure they are authentic and genuine. If you reach out to the target market to initiate genuine relationships, consumers will find this much more impressive, therefore increasing your chances of doing business with them and converting them into a strong lead.
A report by Mashable suggested that companies should be a digital trendsetter by giving consumers interesting, new information to read. This information does not need to be about your product or service, in fact it is better if it is not. Being seen as a thought-leader in the industry increases your credibility and expertise in the eyes of your market. In the same article, Jessica Randazza from Digitas stated, "as brands become more entrenched in social media, there will be a need to silo things out and focus on creating more genuine content."
An example of how important lasting brand images are lies with the PGA and their recent conflict. Tiger Woods was traditionally seen as the ‘image' of the PGA, and represented all that was good and professional about golf. However, after his scandal in 2009, the whole PGA suffered this great reputation. What did the PGA do wrong? They put their whole image on one person, Tiger. No other professional sport did this.
Another Mashable article reported that, "they cannot hinge the business of golf onto just one player- it's not practical. Golf existed before Tiger, and it will exist after he leaves." The PGA now has to rebuild its brand beyond the image of Tiger, and social media can help achieve this. Other players, including Bubba Watson and Stewart Cink, are on social sites developing their image as a part of the PGA, which will go miles in helping this sport recap its professional image. The article continued, "What the PGA needs to do is move forward and embrace social media to the max. Currently the PGA has a Facebook page with just over 35,000 fans, and a Twitter account with a little more than 19,000 followers." These numbers are not large at all for the actual fan base of professional golf.
The PGA serves as an example that many companies beginning to embrace social media should follow. They should ensure to create a genuine, lasting image without depending on one single factor that distinguishes them. Just like the image of a brand, a company personality must encompass many a full-fledged persona while still being consistent throughout all mediums on which it is translated.
What are some ways your company is embracing a social media personality?