Getting Social vs. Being Social ::Friendship::

Creating a social media strategy for your brand can be an interesting endeavor. I wish I had a few doles for every time I had a client or potential client say, "I need social media.". It surpasses signing up for and linking accounts. It's the difference between 'needing social' and 'being social'.

Today's brands have more personality than every. All too often they're being psycoanalyzed by consumers constantly via near real-time social streams, and being led by a marketing, communications, or consultant/agency individual typing away, embedding or associating links, tying some SEO savvy to it, or just simply seeking to be entertainingly relevant.

In a way it baffles me that people get paid to tweet, put out fires on facebook when comments go to the extremes, and people label themselves 'social media gurus' or strategists.

It's about being human, truthful, honest to the essence, and bringing a brand alive through compelling collateral, conversations, and experiences. The top line should be driving relationship, then I believe you should always 'inspect what you expect', and this can be accomplished by way of traffic, hits, and engagement generated (at times beyond dollars, PR does have huge benefit).

This, to me, is 'getting-social'. If you don't 'get it', you've simply paid for someone to type away and diminish opportunity cost to develop relationships with the right constituents the right way. I tell clients right away, I am not going to charge you to sign up for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or the like. I will however invest in educating our teams, generating creative that aligns to the core essence of a brand, collaborate this with relevant copy, design, and interaction - then charge for this. That's being a strategic partner, not taking someone's money and reacting to something that a person 'liked'. Liking someone or something can be just like noticing a commercial. That's not novel or inspiring.

Human driven branding is our game, bringing brands alive is not lame, and siegel | innovations is the name. We are brand artists and scientists, and creative minds that are financially and people literate. We understand what is necessary to connect your brand to the vision you forsee. If your vision is blurry, we'll adjust the prescription.

I have told many people many times, "If you want to pay me to tweet and crisis manage your social media, we can do this - but we want to be friends a long time.". There's strategy to the madness, and it can be as simple and conveying what you're seeking to accomplish via 'getting social', then bridging this to a brand personality that resonates through social media, or implementing a cohesive social media brand strategy that is in sync with our team, culture, people, and gifts your brand offers.

Whatever the scale, it's about 'being social'. You can achieve this by listening, educating, entertaining, being relevant, noticing what's there vs. fretting to always create noise, and realizing that 'being social' is beyond an event, tweet, facebook post, or linkedin discussion. It's a lifestyle, and providing the personality your brand represents in relation to the gifts you share.

Some tips include scheduling tweets (connected to your linkedin, facebook, blog, etc. tied to your website as the hub) attached with links and or pictures that quickly convey the message you seek your constituents to capture quickly. Inspiring attention is key, just think about how your eyes move across a page, and how easily it is to get distracted or dismiss anything on television, the internet, or any glowing square box screen. If you think simply in terms of attention, you'll fail. Fail forward by understanding that it's one thing to generate traffic, but you want people to sit down in your store, enjoy your coffee, and have conversation. It's like real estate. If you go through a house and don't say a thing, the realtor usually knows you are not invested in caring at all about this place. It can be timing, location, cost, or some other attribute. You want people to notice, engage, interact, connect, and get to know you. You want them to comment on the windows, space of the rooms, design and layout of the decor, and more. You want people to care.

You cannot make someone care, and if you force this, you'll make consumers deter into another direction. Be social by being inviting, honest, and relevantly entertaining. Be creative, but within respectful boundaries. Be humorous, but not at someone else's expense. Think of what it means to be a good friend and person, and breathe this personality into your brand.

That's being social, not 'getting social', paying someone for it, and thinking you have a game changing digital strategy. Remember, you get what you pay for. If someone is going to 'manage your social media', and that's how they approach it, run. If they begin by asking about the background of the business, your vision, goals, and dissecting what your brand truly stands for an means, and they seek to extenuate that through 'being social' strategies, hire them. You can pay someone to post items, but if you have social without SEO, then what's the point? You must provide measure to your madness - even if it is highly entertaining based like Old Spice's recent successes, or if you are looking to drive highly focused revenue driven responses/traffic.

Perhaps a client is stating they 'need' social media, but through your assessment (we at Siegel like to label this IMMERSION, our in depth analysis of a brand and our proprietary approach), you discover that in actuality a little product innovation would be the game changer, or compelling video pieces, an enhanced website, or a mobile application is the real answer. It is your responsibility as an authentic brand consultant to convey the truth to a client or an RFP. Side note, we are not in love or seek to date RFP's, but respect them. It's your integrity to share what is necessary to amplify the awareness and brand strategy to a client. If it's putting quantity before quality, do not settle for intruding upon the virtue of ethics for the sake of payment. I have seen where this earns clients business and brand love with consumers far more in the long sustainable run vs. survivability. Keep it clean, focused, and to the point honest.

Many clients want $100K of work for $10K. They want a cruise-liner that's as fast as a speedboat, comfortable as first class, and cozy as a paddle-boat on a sunny day. I should start a blog call "It's seems like". For example, clients say - "It seems like this shouldn't take that long", "It seems like this shouldn't cost this much", "It seems like I need something else"etc. It's your role to provide candid feedback (with respect and manners), and show them how to build their business, achieve their goals, and drive success through investing on what you're solutions may be.

So, when a client or someone says, "I need to get social media", you can 'get it' by 'being social' through your brand personality. Speak with your customers and not at them. Listen and not shout at them. Educate them and provide respectful engagement instead of telling them what they want. Don't force them to befriend your brand, invite them to experience a positive interaction and share the gifts you offer to them. If you do this, they will buy (in 'Field of Dreams' voice), maybe not immediately, but in due time. Think about it, earning a friend takes time, acquaintances fly by. It's like investing in a 401k vs. winning the lottery. Friends and brands have a lot in common.

If your social media strategy isn't focusing on two primary goals, 1.) Delivering a positive experience and 2.) Being relationship driven, you need to reassess what your purpose is. If works like engaging, interaction, connecting, relationship, experience, and similar aren't the aura you're feeling, it's time to be social vs. get/need it. If you don't have much to talk about to others, your brand is boring and you need Siegel or someone else to de-bore and infuse human driven branding through our artists and scientists for your media, PR, communications, and identity.It's about providing this positive experience, and delivering happiness/satisfaction for consumers.

On that resonating note, if you want to pay Siegel or anyone to simply set up and provide copy to your media, you can pay us. If you require a more invigorating plan, accepting that type of proposal would be anti-marketing, bad business, and inspire us to question your decency. I see and hear it all the time. People and companies hiring 'Social Media Strategists', an RFP for social media, and the like. It's beyond entering form boxes and typing words associated with a link. This serves some traction, but providing a purposeful meaning behind your antics is key. You could have 1M followers, or 10 that truly care and provide relationship, and for businesses this is money. It would help if you were being paid by social media kingpins to share info if say you were Ashton Kutcher or Kim Kardashian with an abundant amount of fans following you, but I say lead the way with authentically genuine media, and speak with your consumers about how you exist to serve their needs, and this is how.

Have fun creating opportunities online to earn friends, and sell your brand with consumers vs. at them. Work with clients or your agency to develop positive impact through refreshingly compelling and innovative experiences that are relevantly entertaining and educational. Be social, don't just need it.

Siegel Innovations (also shared as siegel | innovations or s|i) is a human driven branding agency providing @radicalbranding through IMMERSION. If you are looking to better connect your brand with consumers, give them a or


Brian Siegel said…
"Like" me online, better yet, "like" me in person

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