February 5th, 2009

Social media experts can help, but the most authentic voice is your own

by sage island

By now you may have realized that social media is becoming the next big marketing tool. This includes many venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, or various other social online communities. It can be a non-intrusive way to “touch” your customers, keep abreast of ongoing conversations, and rate your brand perception. The key to social media is putting a face to your brand and engaging others to communicate with you.

In the emergence of online social media (I am a firm believer that social media has existed forever offline—think word of mouth), there has also been an influx of “social media experts.”  What exactly is new type of online community consultant?  Let’s break it down:

Social: One who builds and grows relationships with others. More than likely the relationship stems from commonality and similar beliefs or behavior.  It involves cooperative communication and feedback between parties.

Media: Media is any tool that is used to store or deliver information or data.  It is the medium by which people convey information and can vary from mass media like television to highly targeted digital media.

Expert: Someone who displays specific skills or knowledge through extensive training or experience.  It is thought that an expert would be recognized as a reliable source in a specific field of study.

Some social media experts claim that they can build online communities using various online media through their experience. The truth is that this new expertise can truly pull from their wealth of information to help advise the best way to grow these communities. In fact, it is wisest to think of these experts as your strategic partner as your business embarks online. This strategic partner should be able to advise your business on how to grow your blog followers, how to encourage community interaction, and how to tie social marketing into a comprehensive interactive campaign.

While the online marketing expert can offer a full range of information to succeed in online communities, it is important to remember that it will be most beneficial if a representative of your company is out there growing the community and communicating with both customers and potential customers.  Be wary of any company that offer ghost writing services, as the most authentic voice is your own. I encourage you to join a few communities and begin offering quality content and finding like users. It is a fun and free opportunity to grow your online presence.