I recently saw a news report that discussed how the public is becoming increasingly aware and more concerned about their online persona than their “real-life” persona. While it was shocking to hear this at first (“hello, we live in the real world!”) as I thought about it more, it made more sense. Your online persona can be potentially viewed by millions of people, whereas you may only interact with a few hundred or so. How you appear to millions of people versus how you appear in your immediate interactions might allow for some additional pressure. This obviously not only affects one’s personal image online, but has potential risks and opportunities for businesses to take note.
An article on American Public Media’s Marketplace discussed how consumers are getting more and more accustomed to providing businesses information about themselves and their friends through that ubiquitous little “Like” button on Facebook. Who wouldn’t want to give a “thumbs up” to their favorite salon, soft drink, clothing store, politician, bank or dare I say it…advertising firm!
The “Like” button is a tremendous tool for businesses. When you as a consumer “Like” something, you are endorsing that company or product. You’re notifying the business that you are someone interested in what they have to say, you like what they sell, not to mention that you’re informing all of your (thousands) of closest friends that they should take note and interest too. One example mentioned a scenario that sounds not hard to believe:
“Say I’m searching for an Italian restaurant…If I see seven of my friends all like one restaurant, I’m going to go there and I don’t care what else is on a search engine.”
While Google may not like this, this is an important opportunity for businesses to take note. Social media is continuing to encroach on our world. People are turning more and more to social media for referrals. Your online presence will continue to be an important aspect of your business persona and should be an increasing focus of your marketing strategy.
While we all still live in the real world and relationships have and will continue to drive business, how we utilize the marketing tools available to spread the message and build relationships in new ways will help businesses move the needle and evolve in this ever-changing and competitive market. The online accessibility through social media allows us to communicate to our potential audiences and their “friends.” However, it’s worth noting that in order to be successful, our online persona must match our “real-life” persona.
Reference: Marketers like that you “Like,” American Public Media, Oct. 1, 2010, http://bit.ly/bpXrtv