It is time for the next »Horse Feed« blog article. Most recently, Love Brand Willi had to use his leadership skills to keep his brand on track. You can also say to keep them slim. Growing was a declared goal, wasn’t it?! Correct, among other things with regard to the network. That is exactly what it is all about today: Mainly network maintenance in the Internet. Social media was the homework he had given me. I should help him in the digital world. Well, whoever has a network that helps you with your homework … So far I’ve been on social media, um, maybe we say ‘always trying’? Honestly, I thought that overwhelmed me … But it didn’t. Or is it?

You can be anything
on the Internet:
superhero, princess,
national coach.
Or Love Brand.

When the vultures circle

I’m worried. Not because I suddenly realized that I am a manager and have responsibilities that go beyond myself and my body. Or because CARE is almost automatically part of the family of leadership skills.

I’m worried. To my godfather, specifically. He is acting very strange. Oh, what am I talking about, strange. He no longer behaves at all: he sits diagonally opposite, on the bench where people rest otherwise. A vulture would give him healthy posture marks – yes, the way vultures sit when they have a rodent in one of their claws. In our case here the raptor comes from the monkey and holds a smartphone in his hand. Thank goodness, you have to say, it descends from the monkey – otherwise it wouldn’t have a thumb.

It seems to need it: the only thing that moves is his right thumb. This small part of the body on the hand is an essential detail that distinguishes my godfather from the feathered scavenger: No vulture caresses its prey like my godfather does on the phone … Not without a thumb anyway.

They both remain strange birds.

»Hi Willi!« Says the vulture casually. Only the vulture’s thumb hovers over the display of his cell phone.

He doesn’t even look at me. He doesn’t even notice that my expression has changed from worried to offended. I do not notice that he is happy to see me.

»Hey Willi, you can be anything on the Internet: superhero, princess, national coach, …«.

»Um, how about seahorse deluxe?« I interrupt him snappily.

The tone works, for the first time today he looks at me directly. For the first time he smiles towards living things instead of electronics. His smile even brightens the rest of his face.

Social media is not a newsroom.
It’s network.

The platform for self-portrayal

»Excuse me, my homework took my full concentration.«

Break. I’m hearing, I say unspoken.

»Wow, you look good. Have you lost weight? It suits you! Wait, I have to take a picture of you… and a video!«

Jester. »Wait …« my swimming speed is well known. I’m not getting out of here quickly enough anyway.

The godfather is again focused on the matter: this time his phone circles in front of my window, including his forearm. I try to follow, but the shoot is over a few seconds later. I am out of breath, confused and still offended. This cell phone has never been a big part of our meetings. Today we are separated by screen and display.

»This way your fans are much closer to you,« he says, and he’s now active on the phone with several fingers.

Aha, I think.

»Digital social networks offer us the chance, Willi, to show you how you are: who you are, what you are, for what you are, against what, how often … This social media is that Platform for self-portrayal!«

He’s kidding me.

»Seriously Willi, it took me a little while to get behind it. A lot of what’s going on in the digital world is really totally absurd.«

Then a godfather and his seahorse go very well with it, I think. For the time being, however, I remain attentively muted.

The godfather tells me that he will buy a camera that he will install in my aquarium. So I can go »on air« independently on the Internet. You just have to take care of some things yourself, he says.

I told you, he is kidding me today.

Young enough or too old?

»In former times people used to meet for gaming, you know? We always played consoles with a friend in the basement. For this we drove several kilometers by bike. In the meantime it works like this: everyone has their console in the room and is connected online with their friends.«

I only understand console. And if you do not understand what you are talking about, you should occasionally shut up… So I am once again a listener.

The godfather, on the other hand, continues: »I realized that although I am young enough to understand the benefits of social media, I am too old to understand the technology – my first post, no joke, took hand-stopped 45 minutes to get online.«

Is he whining now? Is he going to tell me that he hasn’t done his homework? Was that why he was sitting on the bench over there forever like stupid? Is he ashamed? My mood changes again: from insulted to amused.

Just when I think I can remain at one point in the incompetence of my brand developer, he recognizes my regained attention. Some things can be made interesting for me by just making them entertaining.

»It wasn’t homework, my friend, it was a doctoral thesis.«

BAM, it seems to be getting scientific again. Bugger me…

If you just get involved and invest to make a story out of it
on the internet,
you have either
inferiority complexes or
too much money.

Don’t just be present, network

»Well, the fact is, without your presence on the internet, your Love Brand will disappear from the scene faster than you can say ‘crab’.«

Oh, tell me news. That was exactly the reason for the homework. I manage to speak: »Compliments to this enlightening conclusion. And now?!«

»I have created my own profiles for you and your team members. All of your characters accordingly, all designed to communicate and address the core messages of your Love Brand differently for your fans.«

»A short summary for me in simple words: I have an online profile, my team members too. And now everyone has to present themselves plus the Love Brand?«

»Exactly. And because a seahorse is probably rather haphazard in this regard, I have considered four cornerstones of the Internet network for you:

First, the internet community knows everything. It is your brand’s working memory. She is the greatest expert in the world. You can tap into knowledge and feed databases. In terms of how, the old have to learn from the young. In terms of what, the young have to learn from the old. Digital knowledge transfer is not the future – it is the present.

Second, the internet community can do everything. It is the firewall and the backup of your brand. It protects, helps, pushes, blocks, shares, secures – past and future, knowledge and skills. Where you frolic and get involved determines the quality and quantity of what your brand can learn.

Third, the internet community criticizes everything. It is the mood indicator of your brand. It is the think tank. Where new fans meet, resistance is usually not far away. Use the critics’ attention to position yourself or learn. Critics keep the dialogue open and help you gain profile and credibility.

Fourth, you do everything. The internet network community is your marketing tool. So you have to take care of it yourself. You can’t do it through a third party, and you can’t do it if you don’t want to. You need habits, practices, experiences with it. Practice it internally in a team – only when you have discovered digital networking for yourself  you are ready to spin the big wheel.«

»Knows everything, can do everything, criticizes everything – that sounds like an ex-girlfriend. Or like workload.«

»Exactly the right thing for a Love Brand. A relationship is always work. It results from your story … Not the other way around. Just like your social and economic engagement. If you just commit and invest to make a story out of it, you will either have inferiority complexes or too much money.«

Community as a mood indicator

This internet topic is really a mood indicator. I was worried, insulted, amused within the last minutes … and now I’m irritated – seriously now, a lot of work and I should do everything myself …?!

»A Love Brand behaves the same privately as professionally. That’s your advantage, Willi, you can’t pretend. There are many who do this – make sure you address your fans through social media and appreciate what you particularly like about their private behavior. Is the person a swimmer or a conservationist? Is he an outside fan or a team fan?«

»Yeah, that’s good. Roger that. I discuss it with the team, how we want to do it with social media. Are you actually part of this community?«

»Yes. And I’m your fan – the biggest one on your team and outside.«

»And how does the community know that?« I am also interested in what it brings me in terms of the further development of my brand.

»From a blog,« answers the godfather.

Aha. Ever heard, I think and pose a little in front of my new camera in the aquarium. For my fans on the Internet: Here I am. Back again. In the end, if only for selected guests and under a pseudonym with a hidden profile – unfortunately, somebody teased us that we were all naked. And there’s no such thing for free. Especially not for everyone. I don’t give a shot, we now know how it works with this internetwork. Mission completed.

It is actually the case today that we increasingly only meet digitally or that the digital network is always there when we meet in person. It is no longer possible without. Individual brand communication has never been more important than today. Global networking has become basis for  further development of a brand. It underpins the credibility of content and offers a wealth of specialist knowledge. Of course fans don’t just want to be informed, they also want to be entertained. They want to be asked and heard. They want to let off steam on the playground of anonymity or consciously take a position. They want to share and participate. And they certainly don’t want to be fooled. On the Internet, fans meet their critics, questions meet answers, facts meet opinions. It helps immensely if you have fans on the network who take a position especially when the critics attack.

Food For Thoughts

For all of you networkers who want to use social media constructively and productively: Let’s connect, because every contact is a win:

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