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Monday, December 06, 2010

THE FOUNDER’S DEN: The Basic Anatomy of Social Media

Propelled by one billion peer users, social media has become the fastest growing marketing medium in the U.S. — nonetheless, the much-anticipated monetization of social media remains an unrealized quest for the Holy Grail. Legions of traditional marketers have predictably descended upon Facebook, Twitter, and countless blogs with transparent greed, but have largely failed to monetize social media, due to clumsy efforts that violate peer-to-peer trust etiquette. This can be directly attributed to the low levels of understanding as to how social media really works, within a business.

There are so many “things” involved in social media that it becomes almost impossible to figure out what is truly going on. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Bookmarks, keywords, searches, email, and many more options make it almost impossible for the layman to grasp what to do. In this article, we hope to clear that up by explaining social media as a living thing, a functioning body of communication similar to the human body.

The basics of the body are simple, without food we die in a matter of days, without water that time is cut in half and without air we will die in a couple of minutes. So, the primary needs of the body are air, water and food in that order. In order to do this let’s take a look at the human body first. Within the structure of the body there are certain “musts”, and that’s all we will cover for now. The brain, the heart, the lungs, the vein system, blood, and bones provide us with a great background for explanation of the connection to social media.

The bones provide protection and structure; some would even say they provide protection through structure for the organs in the body. This is easily associated with the basics of an internet presence. Your bones in a social media presence are your website and all its functionality. It is the modern day equivalent to the business card and without it you are spinning your wheels. As the old saying goes, it is the “bare bones”.

Next is your vein system. This caries blood around the body and provides for nourishment and replenishment of the vital organs. They are the highways within anatomy that are in control of blood flow and must be used correctly. If one is sending blood north and it is supposed to sending it south, we have big trouble. So, the association here is that your vein system is directly equal to the sites on the web that one would use to send or spread a message. YouTube, Vimeo, Podcast sites, iTunes, Ezine and many more are the veins, or highways, that help distribute your content and message. Use them wisely and the flow will be steady.

Now that we know these sites work like veins within our social media system, what is the blood? Blood, on its own is the most vital portion of the body. It is the carrier of oxygen, nutrients, and DNA. This is exactly like the content you put out to the world. It is your DNA. This is the information sharing boom and you either are putting it out there or someone else is, period. It is the essence of your brand and the fingerprint of your business. It is the first and perhaps even the last thing a potential new customer will ever see about you and your brand. Your blood, or content, should remain pure and treated as the one thing that you cannot live without. Tell stories; tell them as though your stories become your DNA. Every time someone looks at what you wrote and they will all be seeking hyper-self-gratification for information.

The heart plays a major role in this functioning of your body, as well as your media. The heart itself is nothing more than a muscle; it is driven by electricity that stems from your brain, or neural center. The act of pumping or flexing is the important thing to think of in this process. This is closely associated with the habits and routine of your media actions and behaviors. Good rhythm in your media expression to your audience makes sure that your content is “pumping” through your distribution channels consistently.

Your brain is the command center of the body and your brand’s message. This command center is the place that tells you what to think, do, feel and transmit. The brain takes in information from other organs and makes decisions based on the feeling. For this to be closely associated with a portion of the social media mix for brands, we would have to suggest that it is, in part, run by a non-bias third party, so it can always be ‘just the facts”. The brain is made of many different parts and it always tells the truth, because it is relaying data from one part of the brain to another and providing guidance based on fact, not opinion.

This brings to mind the lungs, the most underrated organ in the human body and the most misused/misunderstood part of the social media mix. The fact is that the most essential thing living things need is air; it is the stimulator for the entire body. Air should be thought of as data. The more you TAKE IN the more success you will have in contemporary marketing. The lungs take in air and send it to the blood and brain at the same time. In other words, data from your audience should feed your content and choices as a modern brand. Social networks are the E-version of the lung. They are ready available organs that draw in all kinds of information then sort the useful from the not useful and pass it on to the brain and blood. Social networks should be used as tools to draw in info, much like lungs to air.

So let’s look at the simplicity of this analogy. The process should go like this when it comes to your media division. You must:

  • Create a foundation (website, etc….)

  • Determine which ways to use your distribution avenues (veins)

  • Be present in the social networks to constantly give you data (Lungs and Air)

  • Feed your neural center to ensure that you have the right information (Brain)

  • Use this data to create proper content to send through the distribution centers with a purpose of driving people back to your website or sales center

  • Create a daily plan of tactics and behaviors (heartbeat) to create a consistent circulation of your message
In conclusion, every business should think of media (ways you connect with the public) as a child or having a new baby. If you are not prepared to create a good body, don’t take it on. It is better to NOT be present in the space if you have nothing to say or a fuzzy message about who you are and what you do. It is tough to abort mistakes on the internet, so take parenting classes, and build a parenting plan for this new organism of engagement and information marketing. Effective exercising of this plan will result in productive and accurate customer information, which in turn will produce healthy lines of revenue.

By Eric Rice

LWI and The Founder’s Den

The Founder's Den

The Founder’s Den is a collaborative group of successful entrepreneurs, attorneys, investors, tax professionals, and advisors who are committed to sharing their knowledge, expertise, and resources to improve the environment for rising startup businesses. The Founder’s Den Members come from a variety of professional backgrounds and business sectors, and are focused on leveraging their wisdom and experience to offer advice to young companies, and in select cases the Den serves as an incubator for promising ventures who are in need of support to turn their plans into reality.

Eric Rice is a successful entrepreneur and has built a number of businesses in sectors ranging from financial services to gaming. He is currently the CEO of LWI, a non-traditional marketing firm specializing in social media and online branding.

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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy

The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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