Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Small Organisation and the Social Media Part Four; Bringing Attention to the Presence

Whilst social bookmarking and micro blogging are two of the more practical community enhancing tools available to small businesses facing resource constraints, these efforts will prove meaningless if the organisation is not brought to the attention of consumers. As these businesses will, more often than not, lack a strong recognizable brand, the onus is upon the organisation to direct attention towards themselves. This is often easier said than done, and with ever increasing numbers of organisations vying for the attention of the consumer, the process quickly becomes resource intensive; if carried out ineffectively.

The New Media
One of the greatest assets of the social media lies within the very communities that comprise its number. As a relatively young media, knowledge surrounding this area is still very much the subject of debate. Community based knowledge development is common, and even the most prolific of social commentators are willing to both educate and be educated on the societal implications of the platforms unfolding before our very eyes. Relevant, informative contributions are actively encouraged, and many of the most popular social tools have incorporated comprehensive feedback systems so that two way conversation is facilitated.

Developing Together
How do user generated contributions help to drive awareness; by enabling users to demonstrate their insight into a given subject. As many articles within the social media actively promote community based knowledge development through comment, retweet and reply functionality, the introduction of useful insights help to enhance the debate instigated by the original post. As these social contributions routinely encourage content ownership, replying to the posts of others can represent one of the more viable methods of establishing oneself, or one's organisation, as a field expert.

Promoting the Presence
Admittedly, resource constraints can restrict an organisation's capacity to actively go out into the community and to establish itself as an expert. As such, the need to efficiently monitor the online environment is of paramount importance; a theme which I will be examining later this week. Whilst these constraints may prevent the organisation from establishing a presence to the extent which they might otherwise achieve, we should remember that strategic, well thought out efforts to engage the community will be acknowledged. Tools such as Twitter have, as previously discussed, enabled the community to draw value from the tweets contained therein. Retweets and other methods of echoing sentiment have enabled the community to decide where value does and doesn't lie. By ensuring the creation and distribution of relevant content, these tools have effectively enabled the organisation to employ the community as an extension of their own promotional strategy. Not bad given that all parties have gained from the exchange.

As awareness builds, the community may begin to enhance the organisation's own promotional efforts. As such, the importance of directing attention quickly becomes obvious. Thing is, this can only be carried out effectively if the organisation is aware of what's actually going on out there... Thanks for reading.


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