Of the 4.2 billion people online in the world#, only a little over 2 billion are on Facebook (mostly mobile use#.) This is not an overlooked opportunity. Access is not the same as reach ― especially the kind of reliable reach a business builds by creating value.
Other means of communicating and interacting with clients that have not gone out of fashion and are algorithm-free to deliver value to brands and clients (win/win) are:
- Websites ― an ad-free product experience easy to underestimate, including product updates.
- blogs ― subject matter expertise, behind the scenes that humanize a business, translating technical and scientific information, building authority (both for search and expertise), developing a strong point of view and voice.
- communities ― learning with customers, discovering answers to common issues, opening the door to peers supporting peers, product and execution ideas, good will. evangelism, advocacy.
- mailing lists and email ― direct connection to topics of interest, signal intent.
- word of mouth ― recommendations, reviews, value-driven influence.
- events ― learning with customers, building community, face-to-face interaction, signal intent.
It's not an exhaustive list of purpose and meaning. But likely a good starting point for organizations that want to expand opportunity beyond the 2+ billion users of social media. We all want to better our lives, improve our lot. Especially younger people want brands to make their lives easier#.
People want to read honest communication about products and services, they expect brands won't let them down and will act with integrity at all times#. Having nothing to hide is not the same as being intentional about doing the right thing, and saying something useful#.
“Seventy percent of people around the world believe brands’ motivations to share is based upon self-centered desires to increase profits, rather than part of a sincere commitments to their customers.”
Identity, communication, and growth are interdependent. To move others, we need to own our communication, and meet halfway in understanding what's on people's minds. it's not just as simple as a translation process. Identity is involved.
But all of this, including eCommerce where applicable, is in service of a solid business model and a marketing strategy (complete with margins and costs) that works for your specific brand(s) and market(s).
What you choose to share in social media and online (review sites, forums, communities, etc.) depends very much on the value you get. That includes a broader array of online media, as applicable, as well as face-to-face interactions in store and at events.
We're often so focused on task at hand, and context at hand that we overlook opportunities to get help, or learn something new.
Case in point, just last week in talking with a woman who comes to the same Barre studio I go to we discovered she's looking to take her small business to the next level. I'm quite familiar with her client base, their key questions, and health options.
All communication is persuasion, those started by organizations, and by customers and clients. But not all communication is helpful when it's not consistent, useful, and integrated into a cohesive conversation. Experience is a form of impression, but we don't get to share it when we're not focused on strengthening relationships.
Facebook is indeed not the only game in town (there's overlap with social media use#). There's more to digital than social media... and more to solving real problems.
Bonus points for thinking about identity as a lens to understand the web.
More on #storytelling next...