Engagement vs. Marketing

29 07 2008

Being the new kid on the block, I have found that when discussing iRM’s objectives with people I tend to oscillate between the words “engagement” and “marketing.”  Initially, when cultivating this passion of helping other use Social Media to expose their brands, I used the word “marketing” almost exclusively.  I mean, after all, that was iRM’s mission: to help people market their brand using Social Media.  However, as I continue to meet others who share my passion as well as understanding my clients a little better, I’m beginning to think that “engagement” better fits the bill.

In “The Art and Science of Social Media and Community Relations” by Brian Solis, he opens a dialogue around marketing using Social Media.  Unlike traditional marketing where you are targeting a demographic and talking “at” people, using Social Media as means to reach a wider audience means actively participating in the communities.  You are not simply throwing out content and expecting the masses to lap it up.  Instead, you are a part of a ecosystem that thrives on sharing information in order to move closer to a collective resolution.

By moving into this space, small businesses as well as larger companies have a chance to have a conversation with the very people who interact with their brand.  The looming concern is the time that needs to be spent in these Social Media Communities.  For example, when I was introduced to Twitter, I assumed it was just a glorified Facebook status update tool.  I signed up for an account and rarely checked it.  It wasn’t until I started following and observing people, whose blogs I read, that I began to see the power of this tool.  Now, it has become a staple in my own Digital Ecosystem as I deem it highly useful for sharing quick bursts of information.  Also, I found that I wasn’t simply marketing to people about my passion (iRM), but I was engaging with them on helpful tips, advice, and sharing stories about being new entreprenuers.  Soon, people began to follow me, and a sense of community began to take shape.

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Social Media Tools: Which will enhance your brand?

17 07 2008

“If you don’t engage, your competition will.”

-Brian Solis, PR 2.0, “The Essential Guide to Social Media”

Choosing not to use Social Media to market is ultimately up to you, but it could result in less than desired results when growing your brand.  While working with a stealth startup group in Seattle I came across a growing concern: with all the social media/networking platforms out there which are the best to use for company/brand exposure?

My main job while there was to help the team wade through different platforms, weighing the pros and cons.  What happened instead was a collective information dump that left us mentally hyped.  Here are a couple of questions I proposed to get the ball rolling:

  1. How robust are the platforms you want to use? (i.e. how many active users, site traffic, etc)
  2. What are the main features that attract users?
  3. What are the main demographics?
  4. How are other businesses using these platforms to scale brand exposure
  5. What type of presence would your brand have on the platform (i.e. layout design)?
  6. Does your brand lend itself to Social Media Marketing, is it worth the time and effort?

Once the team answered these questions I introduced the Digital Ecosystem concept I was tinkering with.  First, the team and I mapped out what we considered to be the 15 most important social media platforms.  From here we were able to further critique their relevance to the project, and what it would take to maintain a presence within each community.  The end result was a comprehensive map and execution plan regarding how to market the company using the most relevant social media tools available.

Planning your social media marketing strategy may seem daunting as there are an endless number of tools and communities out there.  The key is to remain small at first and focus on those platforms that will accurately portray your vision. By doing so gives you a successful fighting chance against the competition.





From idea to iRM

14 07 2008

Anyone who is an entrepreneur knows that the way to grow your brand is exposure, exposure, and more exposure. Working and living in a Social Media atmosphere I was surprised at the lack of exposure that many companies and small businesses displayed in this space.  My circle of friends rarely watched TV or listened to the radio, but were logged in to Facebook, Twitter, WoW, etc, many hours of the day.  I started to wonder, what if companies could some how use these social communities to advertise and scale their brand without retracting from the digital environment that users had become accustomed to.  Recently, networking super-site Facebook unveiled an advertising platform that could virally market brands to millions, but this was only a small piece of the puzzle.

Putting this idea to work I realized that helping entrepreneurs tap into this unfamiliar territory was the highest priority.   I pitched this idea to a fellow colleague a couple of weeks later, and iRM was created.

What we do at iRM is not overwhelm an entrepreneur or company with countless social communities and blogspheres that they should “link to,” but rather design a Digital Ecosystem that is best suited for their brand and their vision.  The iRM Digital Ecosystem is a tailored blueprint of various social media resources that a client can utilize for brand exposure.

In coming entries we will explore in depth the pros and cons to using Social Media as a means of advertising and various resources that are available for entrepreneurs.