Brand Building Via the Inbound Social Opportunity

by Gregg on February 18, 2012

When it comes to brand building by leveraging unique content via social media, I’d argue that most of us in marketing communications adopt a primarily outbound lens. Develop the content, distribute through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc., engage as necessary and measure click-throughs and downloads to judge effectiveness.

But consider the information and resources potentially received in return that can build one’s branding acumen and thus be incorporated into future efforts; in other words, the inbound social opportunity.

Here’s an example from this week: I wrote last Sunday’s post on Martin Lindstrom‘s book Buyology, which is about the growing field of neuromarketing. As usual, I posted it to my Twitter and Google+ feeds, but because the topic fascinates me, I posted a question on several LinkedIn groups of which I’m a member, to learn if peers there had any direct expereince in neuromarketing.

I ended up having an interesting discussion over a couple of days via posts on the Business Marketing Association of Chicago Group and through e-mails exchanged with Deb Rapacz, who teaches marketing courses at St. Xavier University here in Chicago. She also conducts audits and workshops for clients that want to add neuromarketing elements to their existing marketing communications.

You can read the course of our BMA Chicago Group discussion here, but in addition to challenging me to expand my thinking on the topic, she provided this link, which is a technical article she co-authored titled "Better Branding Beyond Advertising," and discusses ways to build longer and stronger brand commitment. The best line from that piece: "Branding beyond advertising is not so much about furthering [customer] arousal and interest but about convincing the customer that the arousal he is experiencing can be rationally supported. And that’s exactly what an aroused customer wants: to convert that feeling of ‘fit’ into a firm and lasting choice."

Here’s the key insight: The book I read led to a blog post and a subsequent discussion with a new industry peer who provided an article full of information that enriched me. I wouldn’t have been exposd to that had I merely written the post and moved on to the next task.

Granted, not every bit of outbound unique content, either professionally or personally, is going to yield key learnings – but maybe the point is what goes out can provide a return that could be subsequently applied elsewhere on behalf of a brand, and positively benefit both its perception and the bottom line. The only skill necessary on the part of the marketing communicator is being attuned to what’s inbound, along with a willingness to think and apply. I asked Deb about our discusison through that lens.

"I’d say that it not only expanded your knowledge, but demonstrated how networking is supposed to work on LinkedIn," she said. "A meaningful connection was made."

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