Social media branding has changed the world! But what’s most significant is how it has influenced the way people interact with each other on a day-to-day basis. Have you noticed? Gone are the days when someone simply asked for your email address. Today, people are eager to ask you to follow them on Twitter.
Social media isn’t going away. As long as there is an internet and electricity to feed it, people are hooked to the concept and the process of socializing online. For many the process began with wanting to connect with friends and family. Posting pictures and YouTubes of cute stuff that really didn’t have any significance to anyone other than the originator.
How you shop, what products will be available in the future and even what type of information and news will remain at your fingertips is being decided by those who are engaging in online social applications. Once upon a time, large Madison Avenue advertising firms and mega-corporations decided these things for you. But today, you’re in charge more than ever before. In fact, traditional media is ‘following you’ on Twitter just to see where you go and what you want. In the past these organizations may have told people what to buy and even how to think, but today it’s clearly the other way around.
If an individual has a business or is looking for a new job, their attention to ‘personal branding’ online has obviously been given some thought prior to engaging in an online community such as LINKEDIN or Facebook. But for those who never thought of why having a personal brand may be important, what they said yesterday could come back to haunt them ten years from now.
Never before in history has this type of personal legacy precluded an individual’s need or desire to reinvent themselves. Imagine being in an online community at the age of eighteen only to find that a few things you posted, under your legal name, were so ‘amusing’ that at the age of forty they still come back to haunt. This is the reality of living in an online world.
There are two sides to the concept of social media branding. The media itself must have an organizational identity-brand and the people who make up the medium’s communities each have their own individualized brand. People who join in a social community to find a job or promote their business are far more aware of their need to develop a personal brand than those merely looking to connect online with friends and family.
One thing is for certain, socialized individuals are becoming more aware that what is uploaded online may stay online – forever! Those who thought about how to brand themselves from the beginning are less likely to embrace this idea and use the ‘forever’ principle to their advantage. Others who didn’t plan, may regret dismissing the need for an personal brand, later on. An individualized brand begins with an individual’s need to develop a system that identifies what they will say online and how they will say it. While social media has changed the way people communicate and interact, one of its largest impacts is yet to come. How will the world change as individuals continue to brand themselves as artfully as any major ad-campaign?
How will traditional media evolve to continually engage an audience who is busy socializing online? Social media branding remains a work in progress. Understanding what works and what doesn’t, is a process that continues to develop daily, if not hourly. Social media may have brought us to a turning point in the way people and businesses communicate, but what happens next is bound to be based more on what the collective online populations want versus what traditional media tells them to want.