Social Media Part 3 – Boosting Positive Brand Image

Today summer officially ends.

I’m sad since the northern half of the U.S. didn’t see much summer at all.  We had some amazing days, to be sure, but the whole “hot” part of summer never came ’round.  I can count on one hand the number of days I actually got to swim, attend barbecues or even sweat and the lack of heat makes me wonder if we’re in for a long, frozen winter.  Ugh…I’m hurting already.

But as for the meaty part…

In my last social media post, I talked about leadership and where people obtained useful information.  This time I’d like to discuss how small businesses have the ability to enhance their brand image, drawing more customers to their site and ultimately generating business.  Like many leading marketers, I feel strongly that traditional one-way marketing strategies are fading, depending on your business needs.  It makes sense for companies like Coca-Cola and Budweiser to invest in traditional media, since they have broad coverage and a targeted market sector.  They’re competing with their major competitors on a broad landscape.

But what type of engagement (or ROI) can businesses, say a hospital, get from a television or print ad?  When people go searching for millions of items every day, they use their computer.  They Google “hospitals” or search WebMD.  How many people do you know that went searching for a doctor in a newspaper or the Yellow Pages?  Once traditional media, such as print or tv, is read or seen, it’s shelf life is expired.  People don’t re-visit traditional media.

For a large amount of smaller companies, social media is a small budget way to engage customers on the web.  It creates inter-connectivity and engagement.  It gives people a reason to visit your site over and over again.  Some organizations also use social media as a low-cost advertising mechanism, placing a human element into the campaign and getting a huge bang for their buck.  Take this example from Ragan Communications’ Rob Reinalda, regarding the Mayo Clinic’s utilization of the web.  The health care system uses the website to tell heart-felt success stories to the masses.  In doing so, they provide a sense of hope to potential patients, tell successes of their facility, and potentially generate new business.

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Video posts are definitely on the rise.  I’m actually experimenting with some now, talking about my adventures as a transplant job seeker in a major metro area.  Stay tuned!

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