Social Media Philosophy Part 1 - The Personal Referral
Business pages on Facebook, LinkedIn networking, and Twitter are now heavily used promotion tools that offer another format of marketing for a longer reach in advertising coverage. The intentions of such marketing are often with the goal to gain more brand awareness and a larger statistical popularity in the social media community. These goals are not in any way inappropriate or different from the reality of common day interactions in a community. Indeed to be a thriving entrepreneur, one requires a high level of advertising and successful marketing.
But what about the personal connections that are so valuable to creating a consistent network of loyal friends and clients? In a consumer culture, personal referrals remain a valued part of a company’s success. The merit someone will place on the word-of-mouth opinion from a friend or acquaintance often sells a product better than most large scale marketing campaigns.
So when a friend or co-worker tells you to check out the sandwich shop down the street, you may or may not take that suggestion. Your decision to take their referral depends on if you trust that individual’s opinion. They may have referred you to a sandwich shop last month and when you went – it was a disastrous experience and thus a poor referral.
The credibility and ownership that a person should place on their reputation among friends and colleagues once was the only form of advertising – and now it has come back in the form of social media communications. Individuals value and trust a business based on their online image and the ‘fans’ they have in social media platforms.
Integrating social media into a business marketing plan is a frequently recommended communications resource. Today the brand awareness and community minded aspect of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer businesses and people to connect with like-minded individuals, share knowledge, and develop a pure impression of what your business or product means to others. The value of these relationships shouldn’t change just because they are in virtual environment and the integrity of how you interact with friends, clients, and potential clients shouldn’t change either. Marketing should be an organic process that shares the enthusiasm of the company itself. Not the other way around.
Continue reading our 4 part Social Media Philosophy series: Part 2 – The Spotlight