A while back I wrote the first post about digital identity ‘Digital identity – We Create Ourselves‘. It was about how everyone from ‘normal’ to hardcore tech and internet people create themselves online. This support their identity – not only online but it even empowers their offline identity, some without even thinking about it.
Join the social media locomotion
We are all doing it! Just look at what pages you join on Facebook. Why join the Facebook pages ‘I like when people smile at me’, ‘happy people are the shit’ or ‘running makes my world go around’. Now, all these mentioned pages are just made up, but I bet you have joined a page almost like it, and why? – Because it adds something to your online identity.
During the last two years of wild fire spread of social networks, blogging sites and Twitter, it became easy for everybody to send a clear signal of who you are and what your passion is about.
Take for instance, the young mother, who updates her Facebook status ten times a week telling her network and the world how much she loves and adores her children and husband. And you probably have one of those people in your network, who constantly feel the need to update you on his of her running game -because running is the new black 😉
People who say that this online creation of identity is fake, or that offline is going to be the next big hit – I just don’t get it. The creation of our identity is deeply rooted in our DNA. It’s human nature to expose ourselves, create ourselves, dream big about ourselves. And we will not stop using this great opportunity.
Using social media as a brand
So as a company or brand, you should start thinking about how you can tap in and give something to people’s identities. For example when you hire, look for truly passionate people. They will show themselves to you on social networks, in communities, on forums or their own blogs.
When you think of marketing, forget the old idea of marketing to the masses. Instead, tap into the people that are already passionate about what you do. They will spread the word for you, and it’s going to be a personal recommendation in a advertising free environment.
But do it properly. Please don’t just make another Facebook application that tries to rip personal data, so you can spam people – and the app being a total disappointment.
A best-practise case
One of the strongest cases of tapping into identity is Nike (oh no not again, well yes!). A whole lot of brands could tap into running, but Nike that does it the best way. I will just share some thoughts about a small but brilliant fraction of the social identity platform they made, and this will also be the follow up on a post I wrote in what feels like ages ago 😉 – ‘Testing Nike Training widget – part 1´.
In September last year, my girlfriend wanted to start running, and she looked around for things to motivate her. It did not take long before she got hooked on the Nike+ iPod system as it gave her something that could measure and keep track of her progress. But she also wanted to bring it to her social network – one of the highest motivation factors in running is sharing it with your network. She quickly discovered a Nike widget to add to her Facebook profile. It’s a small customisable avatar that jumps when you have been running and just sits there to give you a bad consciousness when you are not running, because everyone can see it on your profile. It will keep track of her running and it’s her constant motivation to get out there. Once it hits 250 km, it even gets a new cooler jersey 😉
What Nike really understands is to give people something that not only brings value to their running game. It also provides a vital part of building a digital identity. Everyone in your Facebook network who visits your page (and remember we all stalk and stick our noses in each others’ pages) is able to see how well you’ve been doing on your running game!
There is a million more good and bad cases of brands and companies tapping into people’s online identity – if your company or brand is not doing it yet – it’s about time you look into it!
If you got this far reading this post, it means you are very interested in the subject, so please share any thoughts or good cases with us. You are interested maybe even passionate on the subject – please take a moment to create yourself.