Branding Business – What Is Social Media?

June 29, 2011 by  Filed under: Branding 

A simple definition of social media is that it is a form of media that is shaped and controlled by those using it, to communicate with others, via a variety of different platforms. The core focus revolves around people interacting.

Constant State of Motion

Firstly, social media is constantly evolving. Five years ago, most interaction was done via computer or laptop. Now, mobile devices are now gaining an edge, and seem to be the most common way of connecting to media. Some users will also be constantly looking for a newer, fresher media source, so it’s a pretty solid bet that the first early adopters of Facebook and Myspace are off using something new and different. Social media is constantly evolving, often made by small groups of people and then expanding out to the general populace. For example, have you heard of foursquare, or hotlist, or mouths hut? Unlike most branding business objectives, many of the niche social media platforms prefer relative obscurity to mainstream appeal.

The Trends

Those who tell you that they completely understand the social media branding business, and know exactly where it is going, are generally talking rubbish. No one can predict what is going to take off and capture user attention, any more than people can predict the stock market or next weekend’s football games. We can make an educated guess, and look at social and business branding trends, but that’s about it.


So, how does this affect advertisers – in other words, how do people make money off it? Well, social media is also a very difficult platform to advertise on. Much fuss has been made about Facebook’s use of “private” information, and every extra bit of advertising intrusiveness and branding business has seen users complain. If hanging with a group online can be compared to kicking back at a bar with some mates, advertising can then be seen as a sweaty old man intruding into the group, attempting to sell a cheap pair of shoes or DVD player. Social media users are, on the whole, savvy Internet users who are quite cynical about advertising and corporations in general.

Many larger corporations haven’t embraced social network marketing as much as others. Why? Two factors; firstly, larger corporations need a lot of mass market advertising to survive – in other words, they need to link with a branding business and appeal to the largest audience possible; secondly, social networks by their very nature require you to relinquish control of your message. Good, mediocre and downright hostile comments about your company or offerings can be made, and attempts to self moderate these will generally be met with derision by all participants. However, other companies have realized that if allowed to grow – with prickly commenter’s intact – the community becomes self-regulating, and generally takes on an 80/20 split of positive to hostile participants. Social media allows you to get much closer to your customers than ever before, and a smart branding business will realise that a self moderating community of loyal customers is priceless beyond measure.

How to use Social Media

So, how can you use social media to bring customers into your branding business? Well, offering Facebook-only discounts is a tried and tested method of encouraging repeat purchases. Creating fun competitions, like people taking photos of themselves with your company logo or product in various situations can also work. It’s important to create a sense of community and fun, whilst still branding business objectives along the way. Don’t be afraid to request some feedback from your community about new offers they would like to see – market research has never been easier.

In summary, branding your business on mainstream social media platforms is a daunting task, but one that will certain pay off if done correctly.

The community needs to be respected, and given space to grow organically until it becomes self regulating. Companies and Branding Businesses that can do this will find consumer loyalties and insights undreamed of before the social media revolution.

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