I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the “proper” use of social media. Having recently graduated from college, I’m used to social media being used in its true sense… socially. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and blogs are not part of a “brand management” campaign in the eyes of the average college student.
In my experience, a blog or social feed (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) will only be followed or “liked” if the brand, content or cause is something that the follower would want to broadcast to their whole network. For example, when I started working at Prosek Partners, I immediately updated my LinkedIn page so that my entire network could find out about the great company I was working for. The brand of Prosek reflected something that I was proud of sharing with my LinkedIn connections. However, as I have further deepened my understanding and interaction with social media from a business perspective over the last few months I’ve repeatedly seen companies trying to create a “social media brand” that is unique from its core business brand. This doesn’t seem to make much sense. At the end of the day, no matter how much I love my Knockaround sunglasses, I’m not going to like them on Facebook because I don’t feel compelled to broadcast my preferred eyewear in the same way I did my excitement for joining Prosek.
My brother-in-law recently sent me this article from Inc. magazine that finally addressed this issue of social media brand disconnect. Jeff Haden did a bit of research on the subject and ended up interviewing Shama Kabani, author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing. Kabani’s point is relatively simple: social media is not as much about connecting with other people as it is about explaining and building your own personal image. So while I’m not likely to promote a brand for brand’s sake, I might join a group or discussion that allows me to be part of a culture or conversation that I feel will further develop my personal brand. Kabani argues that if companies think about their consumers and what kind of image they want to project, they can more easily engage with them on all social media platforms.
What do you think is the best way to promote a brand’s image on social media sites? Where do you draw the line on your “likes” on Facebook? Share away within the comments.