Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Value of Exposure

Myspace marketing is passe. You can accumulate over a million friends, but what's the point if you only have one interaction with the user? A user may view your profile once when they accept your friend invitation, but what encourages them to revisit your profile? You can try posting a message in the bulletin, but this is often lost in the clutter of the site's organization.

Twitter and Facebook continue to be valuable marketing entities for companies, brands and individuals. The sites naturally encourage repetitive exposure, because of simple organization and navigation. According to Zanjonc's Mere Exposure Theory (1968) the more a person is exposed to something, the more that item, person or profile becomes likable. ...And likability translates to profitability, just ask Apple.

Natural Exposure
You log in into Facebook and the "mini feed" automatically informs you of updated profiles. Each new photo album, status or profile update is streamed across your homepage. You are naturally encouraged to visit the updated account and interact with the user. The relationship -either to your brand, company or persona is enhanced through frequent exposure to your profile page.

Similarly Twitter allows users to have regular interaction with their followers. Instead of visiting a profile page once, twitters regularly interact with each status update. Post a witty response along with a link and your followers are encouraged to click the link and visit the promoted site.

Think Beyond Clicks and Hits
It's tempting to accumulate as many hits as possible. We live in a results driven society and clicks are a measurable way to track success. But remember you are creating a long term entity, not a short term banner ad.

Regularly posting links in Twitter or your Facebook status can be viewed as SPAM by your followers. Think of social media as a way to enhance your brand's image and create brand evangelists through the quality of the content you post.

For example, Dooce aka Heather Armstrong, one of Forbes' most influential internet celebrities, uses Twitter to post witty updates about her life. She never posts a link in her status, nonetheless she has accumulated over 15 thousand followers and is the 29th most popular user on Twitter. Dooce relies on humorous twitter updates that reflect her blog's entries. She uses social media to enhance her entity, increase her exposure and build followers that are naturally encouraged to visit her blog.

Overexposure is Dangerous
Remember the boy who cried wolf? What happened on the third time?

If you tweet too regularly or update your Facebook profile too frequently, users become overexposed and burn out. Remember you are not the only brand or persona in the community and constantly posting new content can overwhelm users and cause them to be numb when you have something important to share.

Focus on selectively rolling out your content. Keep your followers on their toes. Share a slice of your brand. Keep them wanting more. For example, Postsecret, a popular community art blog, posts new entries once a week. Instead of multiple daily posts, visitors look forward to Sunday and seeing the new content.

The Value of Exposure
Understanding Zanjonc's Mere Exposure Theory and how to successfully leverage social media will enhance your brand's identity to create substantial awareness for your product or service.
Remember you are you are trying to build long term interest through the quality of your relationships, not the quantity.

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