Today, simply having a website just isn’t enough. Your digital storefront and your online reputation extend beyond the pixelated confines of your corporate domain to the social networks of Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Pintrest, and Instagram. These, and others like them, constitute what are commonly referred to as “social media networks.” Your presence (or lack thereof) on these networks collectively forms your digital persona, your personal “state department,” if you will, an online cadre of ambassadors that represent you in the digital realm. Each portrays a version of you, a profile of at least one or several facets of you or your business.
These profile pages, housed within the larger construct of the social media network, convey truths about you—your beliefs, your goals, your lifestyle, your past, and your future. Your Facebook page and your LinkedIn profile, for instance, serve as two of your veritable online embassies, highly visible outposts that bear your name and your image. From these online locations, your credo and your story emanate to the digital masses. Your vision, your convictions, your victories, your hopes are being shared with consumers of all shapes and sizes: customers, prospects, peers, adversaries, journalists, governmental entities, complete strangers—even your mother-in-law!
According to Social Media Examiner, 97 percent of marketers participate in this ever-expanding social media universe. Why? Because they understand that a dynamic, consistent digital presence has huge potential to increase “likes,” “shares,” and “connections.” Those elements are the digital currency of our day. They have the power to buy influence and market share.
If there’s one thing worse than the total absence of a social media presence, it may well be that of an ill-conceived or neglected online social persona. If, for example, your brokerage business doesn’t have an active Facebook presence, what does it say about your company and, almost as important, what does it say about you and your employees? Social media interactions have a humanizing effect on audiences. Retail businesses run on the fuel of personal engagements and transactions. If an online seeker searches and finds your Facebook page and it is largely untouched, a faux storefront with little or no signs of life, what message is being sent?
Most likely, the user responds as one does when he or she walks down a suburban sidewalk and passes a fenced-in plot of land where a sign portends construction and retail commerce. The sign has a company’s logo and maybe a contact phone number. But, weeks go by, turning into months, and nothing changes. The sign stays but begins to fade, the fence begins to lean, the dirt and the grass give way to weeds, and, regrettably, the interest of the passersby moves on to other areas where real development and real progress is being made. So, too, is the waning interest of online “passersby” who find your various online profile pages dilapidated and in need of repair. Their expectations are dashed, and they move on to your competitors. Your competitors, whose online facsimiles connote a personable brand image, with social media “ambassador” pages that act like real people act, are more than happy to absorb your lost customers. People like to deal with people, not companies.
As an entrepreneur, I know the importance of social media. My Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram profiles are cogs in a larger network—my network—where I can share my business brands’ with not only my local Dallas community, but also the entire world. The result is more accessibility for my customers and business partners, as well as more recognition for my teams’ shared successes.
For my business interests, I regularly post to my Linked-In account updates and pictures of our Dallas Midtown Project, along with new projects involving Beck Ventures. Similarly, I post personal pictures of friends and family on Instagram and Facebook. Sharing these updates allows me to stay connected with my stakeholders while other online audiences—some unaffiliated or unaware—become more acquainted with my brand.
Integrating my social media presence with our businesses’ websites has proven very successful as it helps their organic ranking on Google’s search engines and other social networks. Companies like our marketing arm Enversa, specialize in creating these types of sustainable online media and digital brand strategies for advertisers and brands across the country. Enversa works with clients large and small whose businesses require continual consumer engagement and customer retention.
Not only is social media a place to share my voice, It also gives me the opportunity to potentially gain a new audience or business partner. Every post you make provides you that chance. With the following you build, you have the potential to reach out to new customers, recent customers, and even old ones. Every comment you make allows someone to react, and every reaction can lead to a new venture.
In this modern digital age, sophisticated people expect you to have LinkedIn and Facebook accounts; they expect to be able to get in touch with a company representative. Through my different accounts, I am able to keep in touch with business contacts, share happenings, and create conversations. My Digital Persona has become critical to my business success and has created a framework through which others can observe me, in a manner in which I can manage how they perceive me.
Scott Beck is founder and president of Beck Ventures Inc. Contact him at [email protected]