You might find this answer surprising. Given how most people are so attuned to it, you’d think a social media profile alone is enough to give your business marketing efforts a boost. Your online marketing specialist might have talked to you about creating a Facebook page and setting up a Twitter account.
However, letting people know you exist in the social media sphere is inadequate. Technology has created a new kind of customer, one that can only be reached through strong, solid interaction on the net. Failure to do so could limit your business’s growth and make it susceptible to digital Darwinism.
Before I expound further on proper social media engagement, allow me first to define two central concepts – the connected customer and technological evolution.
There are two kinds of consumers. The traditional ones depend on television, newspaper, or other reading material for information about products and services. They are passive for the most part because they don’t proactively search for information.
Connected consumers, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. They’re constantly looking for data they can use. Another distinguishing factor of the second group is they’re mobile. They connect with other people using smartphones or tablets. They download applications to make their lives easier. Expectedly, the businesses that appeal to them are those who have mobile-friendly websites and shopping tools.
Digital Darwinism is the technological evolution surpassing an organisation’s ability to adapt.
Brian Solis, a business analyst and award-winning author, coined the term. He defines it as “a time when technology and society are evolving faster than the ability of many organisations to adapt”. Solis maintains that companies are capable of adapting new technologies, provided there’s a safe and cost-effective way of doing so.
Say you own a home cleaning business. You’ve been at it for 20 years and have always enjoyed positive results by employing traditional advertising methods. Nevertheless, the presence of “digital technologies” is making you rethink your whole strategy. You consider launching a promotion scheme anchored on social media, but decide against it. You reason that the company is established enough without it. Meanwhile, your closest competitor is a start-up who’s invested in an interactive website and a customised app. The underdog suddenly becomes popular and you’re losing profit.
This is just one example of digital Darwinism. These days, it’s unwise to rely solely on your brand’s logo or tagline. Identity, persona, essence, and promise – these are the branding kingdom’s new rulers. Consumers are now searching for certainty and reliability from companies. Technology is to blame, but it’s no villain. While it demands innovation and acceptance of the need to change certain processes to make a business survive, there are long-term benefits.
Social networks and other online venues allow you to foster a bond with customers. When you’ve made your enterprise worthy of their trust, you’ll have their loyalty. On the other hand, your company won’t prosper if you fail or refuse to grasp the essence of the people-first approach.
A meaningful bond is the ultimate goal of social media engagement. You don’t just link to your customers, but build relationships with them. Personal connection is the lifeblood of social networking. You’ll find all the tools you need from the platforms available out there. It’s up to you and the in-house marketing geniuses at your firm to make them work.
Furthermore, getting through to the connected customer also requires a dedicated approach. It means investing in research to determine buying habits, product preferences and the like. When done successfully, your venture will end up being more appealing to a broader audience than before.
In closing, it’s worth reiterating that social media isn’t a cure for digital Darwinism. It’s a potent form of prevention. The truth is that technology will always be a step ahead. You can either sail with the wind or run against the current.