Last week I was honored to lecture to a group of MBA students at my Alma Mater Loyola University Maryland. I’m always thrilled when I have the chance to get back to Baltimore to help my fellow Greyhounds – but I get particular enjoyment when the people I speak with get it.
Most of the students in the room are part of Loyola’s new Emerging Leaders program. They’re in the middle of their careers, looking for every advantage that this world can offer, and as I spoke about how social media will impact their personal brand I knew that they are the next generation of social media elite. The ensuing days have proven me right: Rebecca Leonard emailed me and asked my opinion as she wrestled with the SEO implications of her migrating to a new Twitter account to include her full name instead of her current account where she uses her nickname – Bekki. Sean Dowd tweeted to me the he’d begun a blog just hours after I spoke to the group. Kadija Abounit, John DeSimone, Allison Pescatore, Mary Anne Rishebarger, & Robert Hunter all connected with me via LinkedIn and enhanced their current profiles.
The point of this post isn’t to brag about my fellow Greyhounds. The point is to highlight a shift that I’m seeing in the social media ecosystem. Right now – at this very moment the emerging companies that support both businesses and individuals in social media are the future of social media. Here’s why:
The tidal wave of social media marketing has crashed. Companies like Buddy Media,
Vitrue, and Wildfire have all been acquired by major players like Oracle, Salesforce, and Google. Those companies support the social media efforts of businesses that have been engaging within the social media ecosystem for the past five years or so. Companies like Silverback Social and Qnary have taken a slightly different approach. We’re now escorting brands through the looking glass – beyond engaging as just a brand. We’re empowering individuals that comprise that brand to have air tight digital footprints themselves. Allowing each individual sales person, lawyer, re-seller, or franchisee to buoy the brand by virtue of their online digital persona. So now when a someone Googles Loyola Emerging Leaders Executive MBA program – they won’t only see the results that Loyola University Maryland has created – they will see each and every student’s own personal digital brand. They will experience the Loyola brand the way it should really be experienced – via the students and faculty that comprise the DNA/fiber of the school.
Similarly if a Law Firm like Jackson Lewis employes an attorney with an air tight personal brand message via blogging, twitter, Facebook page, Pinterest, Youtube, Google+ page, Quora , and a Disqus account -appropriately linking to Jackson Lewis – they have just increased the likelihood that I will organically discover their content exponentially. They no longer have to rely on one point of entry – or even five points of entry reserved solely for their brand identity. Because there are over seven hundred attorneys at Jackson Lewis all of whom will have a dynamic/airtight digital footprint on these five or so social networks. Resulting in (at a minimum) three thousand – five hundred digital points of entry to discover Jackson Lewis! I will have experienced the Jackson Lewis brand the way it should be experienced – through one of it’s corporate leaders who are living in the trenches. Not via a diluted marketing message that may reach me when I’m not ready to engage with the brand. I will discover them via the heart and soul of the law firm – via a lawyer who pumps the life blood through the firm. Powerful.
Qnary has built a platform that allows individuals to “see, shape and benefit” from their online digital footprint. This coupled with Silverback Social’s training, coaching and execution is at the fulcrum of the future of social media. A brand is never what a brand thinks it is – or what it decides to disseminate online. A brand is the the emotion people feel when they think of your brand. The best way to communicate that emotion is through the people that comprise your organization. The only way to empower the people to harness this power is via platforms like Qnary’s or by education via companies like Silverback Social.
Welcome to the dawn of the personal social media revolution. You’re driving the boat – navigate accordingly.