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Social Media’s Magic Loops

Martin W. Smith July 28, 2012

Social Media Marketing Magic Feedback Loops heart image

Social Media’s Magic Feedback Loops

Social Media’s most important gain may not be what you think. In Social Media Marketing – The Most Important ROI, I missed it too. That post from almost a year ago has been shared with more than 200,000 via Retweets, so it touched a nerve. The most important social media marketing gain is how WE are different because of THEM.

I realized after posting Can Social Media Make Your Company Smarter that “smarter” is the LOGIC, but where are the emotions, the true drivers of our lives and loves? My first P&G boss taught a young bar soap salesman (me) that people BUY with emotion and JUSTIFY with logic. Then branding guru Faith Popcorn explained that people don’t BUY brands, they JOIN them.

The final piece to the social media marketing three legged stool was reading David Edelman’s highly recommended Harvard Business Review article, Branding In The Digital Age: You’re Spending Money In All The Wrong Places. One of my favorite graphics linked from David’s Branding post provided the biggest connection. The graphic is part of David’s Aligning With The Customer Decision Journey HBR article:

Branding In The Digital Age grpahic from HBR

Edelman’s buying funnel starts with inspiration and ends with advocacy. Eye opener. When everything is equal, we “buy” from people we love and respect and who inspire us. We “buy” with a growing army of currencies such as attention, social capital (sharing links, Liking, following), advocacy and finally and possibly money and love. Money is at the end of an ever longer train and may not even be the most important payment in a digital age. Feels like we keep score differently now with money being a currency WE (business marketers) care about much more than THEM (our customers).

Finally, one more reference to complete the idea – Is Branding An Artifact Of The Past? Brian Millar kicked off the current branding as a waste of valuable time and resources controversy in Fast Company. Branding as activity in and of itself does seem dangerously solipsistic in our conversational time that is powered by near real time social media.

Social Media’s Magic Loops

Struggling with a way to fit the pieces of social media marketing together? Join the club. The key may be understanding how interconnected everything is at all times. Everything you or your company does draws people to you, increasing chances for advocacy, or pushes them away, decreasing your chances for success.

In our a flat, immediate, global time, distinctions break down. Differences between ideas such as:

  • Us and Them
  • Now and Later
  • Buying or Joining
  • Hearts and Minds

all but go away.

Social media’s magical, instant and robust feedback loops are WHY distinctions are fading fast. Lectures are replaced by conversations. Time is replaced with NOW, and our actions are shaped and changed by our conversations, our willingness to SHARE, LISTEN, LEARN and LOVE.

Winning Hearts and Minds

In the end, the philosophical social media debate about chickens and eggs is moot and doesn’t matter. Now is what we have, and now is where all marketing, branding, social media, and whatever other labels we attach, lives. Now is and has always been what we “own”, and social media’s magic loops will make some people, brands and companies rich beyond material measure. Win the hearts and minds of a zealous supporting horde to win the game.

Social Media Marketing's Magic Feedback Loops graphic created by @Scenttrail

More thoughts on HOW to win hearts and minds on Monday.