Social media is essentially a sharing system that enables any individual or entity to rapidly obtain greater visibility in the marketplace of ideas and the culture of the online world. Social media is but another name for that unofficial network used to traffic in rumor and gossip we have always recognized as “the grapevine.” Influence is the key to unlocking social media success and economic growth. It is a foundational action step toward developing an authentic affinity group that will ripen across time into a loyal base of consumers. What follows is an examination into some of the most effective tips and pointers one can use to profit from using online social media.

Brand Management

Trust is the single most important element in the process of acquiring and retaining customers. The simple act of sharing basic information with the online world will go a long way toward building that initial level of trust that matures into brand loyalty. Your ultimate affinity group will consist of people who would have already done a fair amount of due diligence into your organization. For this reason, it’s probably better if what they come to learn about you comes from you.
Much of today’s brand management activities are actually attempts at online reputation management. The spending for these efforts are mainly driven by events related to the neglect of social media to begin with. No organization should desire to have its online brand defined by a social circle loyal to its competitors. Moreover, not having a social media presence means missing out on a prime opportunity to acquire new customers and nurture existing relationships.

Garner the Attention of Online Influencers

The Internet’s most in-vogue thought leaders and social media influencers have the power to sway the public’s opinion on everything from a politician’s policy positions to modern pop culture and its fashion trends. Marketers in every industry pay heed to them for a very good reason. They are relevant because they are extremely active on social networks and they have something to say. Often, their ideas are controversial or counter-to-the-trend. This is what makes them “buzzworthy.” Successfully getting on their radar screen may not be the easiest of tasks, but the cost is negligible and upside is well worth it. For the most part, it costs nothing but time to try to capture the engagement of these important players.

Host Social Media Events

There is no more effective way of leveraging the power of social media than to host a live social media event. To be clear, this method of creating online “buzz” can, if not well thought-out can actually work against an organization by inspiring a backlash. These mishaps are known in the parlance of the Internet as “social media fails.” When perusing the social media landscape, it’s not terribly uncommon to discover that some well-known international corporation has been driven to groveling apology for some ill-conceived messaging blunder. This fact but itself is proof that social media marketing is a still-developing art form.
When undertaken correctly and in the right spirit, the roll-out of a live social media event can set one on the road to building a loyal community of users and brand ambassadors. The key to developing the necessary skill to pull this off is in the study of others who have come before you. Study them, and profit from their successes and mistakes.