I’ve been fascinated by the growth of social networking. From Facebook to Linkedin to Twitter, we’re seeing amazing levels of engagement. This engagement is remaking the media landscape too. I’ve struggled to embrace the term social networking though. Felt too restrictive in a business environment and too closely tied to the early pioneering brands like My Space to be taken seriously. Been giving this more thought however and feel perhaps I’ve been thinking about this the wrong way
Come at this as a question; “Where’s your social network ?” and it forces you to think about it differently. It’s a call to action in (re)defining your brand, your offering and your communications strategy to reach, engage and communicate with your customers. It’s also a clarion call to redefine the way you think about integrated media.
The social network that a brand or company develops is nothing new. “Market”, “ecosystem”, “value chain” are all variations of the theme. In this context a social network is not just an online application however. It’s the network of relationships of customers, prospects, suppliers, employees, media and influencers that drive your business. This network is by definition on and offline and encompasses every form of media. One of the natural outcomes of the business use of online social networking is that people meet, at events, conferences and trade shows, and share mutual interests that lead to doing business. This process is actually turbo charged by an integrated series of engagements, across multimedia. The level of engagement and dialogue that multimedia networks enable today truly do create “social networks”.
So as you think about your branding, demand generation, connections, relationships and interactions with your customers prospects, employees and influencers, you should ask “where’s our social network?”. It will take you way beyond simple use of Facebook or LinkedIn. It will help you redefine the way you reach, engage with and build relationships with your customers by leveraging the integrated media platforms that bring together your social network.