Is Social Media Marketing A Faith Based Initiative?

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My brain is still melting from yesterday. One of our clients at Twist Image is iPerceptions. They provide attitudinal analytic solutions for Websites. Or, stated more clearly, they help Websites understand not just what people are doing, but why they are doing it. Beyond the web development Twist Image does for iPerceptions, I’ve managed to become quite friendly with their management, and was honoured when they asked me to be on the iPercerptions Advisory Committee.

The first meeting took place yesterday, and the group also includes people like Bryan Eisenberg from Future Now and co-author of the brilliant books, Call To Action and Waiting For Your Cat To Bark, Avinash Kaushik who Blogs at Ocam’s Razor, and is the Analytics Evangelist for Google and author of Web Analytics – An Hour A Day, Alex Lowy known for his book and theory on the 2 x 2 Matrix, co-author of Digital Capital and author of the recently released book, No Problem, and our group is rounded out by two equally impressive business brains: Dr. Antonio Ciampi PhD and Nicholas Coutts.

During the lunch break we began a discussion around the power of Blogging and its ability to build one’s Personal Brand. Avinash had a very unique perspective on what Blogging, Social Media and even giving away free Web tools (like Google) does for business. He described them all as “faith based initiatives.”

I really liked that.

In this day and age, Marketers need to be looking at these faith based initiatives. We need the ability to understand and build the trust economy with our consumers. We need to believe that the results of Blogging, Social Media and giving away free tools will be more loyalty, which will build community and will bring the sales. Google is giving away Google Analytics in hopes that a trust community will be established, and should your Website desire, that you will consider purchasing Google AdWords or other products from Google because of how they helped your business grow (I know there are also hordes of people who think Google is up to no good with all of this analytical info… we’ll have to wait and see).

He further theorized that the main reasons companies have a hard time Blogging is because they can’t directly equate it back to immediate results. I started jamming with him on this idea. Corporations tend to look at Social Media and try to match the model with their traditional communications strategies. It’s definitely not the “comparing apples to apples” scenario. Avinash then went on to say that the main issues companies are struggling with – when it comes to Social Media – is that their business models are always based on what the cost is, instead of looking at the value.

That was my a-ha moment of the day.

Marketers: are you looking at the cost… or are you looking at the value?

That’s a big question to think about this weekend.


  1. I think that corporate types are reluctant to lend credence to a phenomenon (whether it needs it or not) they runs counter to their corporate convention of no comment. What you have to do is explain how they are they supposed to embrace something that they fear from consumers and discourage their employees from engaging in.
    The CBC has reigned in its employee bloggers, Nintendo just canned on of their own, and even I’ve been denied contract renewals because of something a screen-name alter-ego said on a blog.
    I think for them, it’s unfathomable that something that challenges their conventions can be more than a fad, so unless there’s a direct correlation between blogging and profit margins, they’d much rather wait for it to blow over.
    Maybe we’re better off approaching the pitch from a reputation management stance, and outlining all the gains in SEO and Universal Search to be had. At least that way they have something tangible to chew on. It’s worked for me thus far.

  2. the idea of value, overlooking the cost is something i get into trouble in trying make changes in my church environment. the cost is never as great as people think, it is even smaller when looking at the long term possibilities. are we all just cultured to think short term?

  3. Branding, of course, is the end result of social networking and that, I think, is all about giving and getting value. The same goes with blogging.
    Your “faith-based�? statement I definitely ah ha moment. Where costs and value are concerned, I think the main issue is always about log term benefits versus immediate tangible returns. Online reputation management is certainly something you need to work on, and the same goes with SEO.
    Of course, it is my firm opinion that there are no guarantees in the giving out of free tools or blogging. There are definitely risks involved but it also definitely helps with your online reputation, and more importantly, it’s also one of the best ways to get noticed and build up an email list.
    Now this may not sit well with traditional corporate principles but Web 2.0 is a new playing field that requires new ideas and new techniques.

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