Crafting Your Social Signature
Once, the only signature a person had to worry about was the classic email signature – a line or two of personal importance to the sender which said something about him, his company, or what he stood for. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, email signatures became commonplace. People put a lot of thought into them and were careful about what they contained. Some had several email signatures reserved for various uses: business, family, and friends. Email was the primary method of digital communication, but those days are gone. We now live an age of social media, when crafting your social signature is far more important, especially as the use of email continues to decline.
Social Networks and the Decline of Email
The use of Facebook’s message and chat features have, for a growing number of people, taken email’s venerable place as the preferred way to keep in touch. They’ve even taken the place of telephone calls in some instances, such as last week when I looked up my hairstylist’s profile and sent her a private message to arrange my next appointment. Within a few minutes, I had her reply to “come on over after work!” While we don’t share a personal friendship, we are Facebook friends, and this kind of following can be beneficial to small businesses and their clients by making quick appointments easy to schedule. That personal touch and instant accessibility does something magical to reinforce the sense of connectedness that amounts to truly organic marketing. I can’t imagine patronizing a business with no presence on social networks. Increasing numbers of consumers seem to share this opinion, turning to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other social networks for the latest on their favorite places and products.
So, What is a Social Signature?
A social signature is the collection of footprints you leave all across the Internet, and the connections that reinforce who you are as a person or business. When all of these connections and places of presence come together, they help others to paint a more complete picture of you. These come into play anytime someone does a Web search of your name or brand. The more social networks you’re on, the easier it is for people to find and appreciate you. Word of mouth is the still the best way to get people’s attention, and when you make yourself available to the social Web it gives people the resources they need to spread the word. Social media is the new word of mouth.
On the other hand, if you are MIA on the social Web, you’re not going to be found. You’re not going to be shared. People aren’t going to talk about you. If you want to experience all of the benefits of a great social signature, you have to be present on the major social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and maybe a few others. No, not all of these are necessary at the same time. You'll have to research the demographics of people who tend to make use of each social network and prioritize the amount of time and effort you put into them based on how closely their users match your style and reach. Definitely try them all, but over time, you'll want to focus the most attention on the ones that pay off best for you.
A Recent Example
DirecTV is a company whose name has been in the news lately. It's very public wrestling match with Viacom last month, which resulted in the temporary loss of channels like Nickelodeon, BET, and Comedy Central among many others, actually did the company some good. Viacom had counted on DirecTV's subscribers to revolt against DirecTV for not agreeing to accept the media giant's rate hikes imposed on the satellite television provider. Instead, the customers remained loyal, and even regarded Viacom as the Bad Guy in the dispute. Word of mouth via social media helped keep people patient while negotiations dragged on. Eventually, the DirecTV channel guide once again listed America's favorite channels. This was because, after Viacom realized it wasn't poised to pound DirecTV into submission, the previously deadlocked situation was resolved under undisclosed terms. The power of a strong and diverse social media presence led to a revolt of a different kind: one that screamed "we customers support our provider. Stop bullying DirecTV."
Whether you're an individual or a small or large business, your strong social media connections can start a wildfire of support in times of crisis, or negativity if you've been neglectful. How many social media services do you utilize? Have a story to share? I'd love to hear from you.
Social Media Today