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Ambrya Baldwin: The Root of Connection

I recently attended the SOCi Summit, a 3-day conference focused on social marketing at the local level. We were immersed in data and lessons presented by key figures from some of the biggest social media companies.

I discovered that Google My Business is becoming more and more important for the success of businesses online. Specifically, online reviews play an important role for a business’ SEO ranking.

Facebook has over 90 million business pages, with local pages performing above and beyond national brand pages.

Instagram stories is changing the way videos and content are viewed and created, in the vertical instead of horizontal.

All of these digital platforms increase connection between people and businesses. The small, local business is doing better online than national brands.

A favorite show of mine, Mad Men, painted a picture of a bygone era. Large brands spending large amounts of money on advertising that was pushed in your face through several media outlets – print, tv, and radio.

Social media and the digital world have accelerated this paradigm shift, where marketing has become extremely personal, targeted, and relevant based on the wants and needs of the consumer.

The social media shift has magnified one very important factor – connection.

Think about it. With Facebook, a person can text a business directly. They can see if the message was seen, they have a record to show the conversation and how quickly the business responded.

Online reviews bring the voices of strangers together to help other consumers make informed choices. The examples go on.

However, with the onslaught of local targeted marketing, even with the often-disingenuous glow of polished social media images, one defining characteristic of connection is very important – authenticity.

Insincerity, disingenuousness, fake sentiments – it’s very easy to sniff out.

This is true for every facet of connection – whether it be between consumer and business, between friends, or with family – connection needs to be authentic to be real.

Authenticity is quite often difficult to achieve. It takes guts to be yourself. It actually takes a very strong person to be vulnerable and open with other people.

There was one really good talking point from the conference. The question is no longer, “is social media good or bad?” It’s “how do you make social media of value in your life?”

No one asks you if food is good or bad for you. A person’s relationship with food is incredibly nuanced and personal. It’s the same with social media.

In the online world, genuine connection is very important. And it’s what you make of it. How can you use online platforms to bring value to your life? How can you reveal your authentic self and grow deeper connections? These are questions we have to answer for ourselves for our personal lives and as people in business.

So, what are your answers?

As a marketer and a writer, building connections is my life. I received my business degree from the University of Florida, working at UF and then Texas A&M University. I then found my home as marketing director with Stingray Branding where I've worked for almost 2 years. The remaining time of my day is filled with caring for my two children, hitting the gym, traveling when I can, and writing snarky content for my blog. Find me on LinkedIn!

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