The Social Media Tree- Part 3: Limbs and Leaves

Welcome to the final part of our social media tree analogy. In part 1  of this series we discussed seeds and roots. We talked about how to create a space for social media to thrive. In part 2, we discussed breaking out of the soil; creating leaves and deep roots to connect you with the world around you. Here we will discuss how brands can take their social media presence to the next level.

At this stage, your social media looks more like a tree or at least a sapling. You aren’t mistaken for a weed, you have strong roots and have made meaningful connections with your community. There are many types of tree though. Are you a sequoia or a redwood in the deep forest, a ficus in a home or office, or, are you a bonsai in a garden? Each are strong, beneficial, and beautiful but in different ways.

Your goal now is to grow in whichever direction you choose. How can you support your business goals through interactions with the world? How can you support the needs of the ever deepening roots? Trees grow up and out seeking light. The base expands to support the growing branches. The leaves are far from the roots but still manage to capture light, direct rain towards the roots, and help pull water up the trunk. The tree is now a complex system of roots, branches, and leaves but the system is the same as ever: find nutrients, find light, stay strong. You have a following that looks to you for content to nourish them. These bits of content are your leaves. You generate content and and place it on social sites in ways that stimulate your audience and generate clicks back to your site. Similarly, trees shed leaves which help nourish the soil and roots.

Your tree is also a member of the community. Other trees, animals, and insects interact with the growing tree. Your social presence is exposed to this vast interconnected world of the web. As your leaves (content) is swept away on the wind and waters of the web you generate links back to your site. This is the heart of SEO and will provide significant benefits overtime. We could even liken this to natural selection. With a large and diverse network of sites linking to you, you are able to spread your genetic code (content) and ensure your long-term survival.

As you grow your social presence, you are exposed to many new challenges and opportunities. Your social sites may become a target for disgruntled customers. You are expected to understand the tools and their best use including colloquialisms. You may be involved with social networks that you didn’t intend as people leave questions, complaints, and praise on their favorite sites. Similarly, trees have their seeds and nuts taken by birds or animals. Later these seeds spring forth new life in distant places. While a tree doesn’t have to know where these seeds travel, you should. If you do nothing else with social media, spend time listening. You can learn many important lessons from this practice.

Maybe this isn’t the perfect analogy but having a relatable context is always helpful especially when trying to convince your team to invest in something. Thank you for all the great feedback on this series. We are considering making an expanded ebook based on these posts. If you would be interested please leave a comment or sign up for our newsletter for up to date info.

Thanks to Flickr user oddsock for the image.