As Brian Solis says, we are the generation C, the “CONNECTED” generation. This Social Media Revolution is changing the way consumers interact with the market.
Greg Satel also cleverly points out in a Forbes article that “We are now in a post-promotional age where brand messages are only half the battle. To build a great brand today, you need to build great brand experiences, and the best way to do that is to build a community around shared values with content that holds attention“. Communication now flows horizontally and, in the social media world, your customers come to you. They follow you, and you have to be prepared to lead. How can you make the most of it?
Well, first of all, you have to think about what you want to accomplish with your social media, you need a strategy. For example, as part of the planning you need to announce it, otherwise, how will people know? You need to reach people.
Your brand gets the chance to be humanised and also to be a leader because here leaders emerge due to the reputation they earn. But you also have to be careful. The contents you share are vital to raising that reputation. You have to figure out what you stand for and understand what your followers’ interests are. You don’t want just to grab attention, you also want to hold it, don’t you? And how are you going to do that if you bore your community to death? The best mixture regarding contents involves consistency and surprise.
Interactivity is another keyword. Communication flows easily on both ways now. You speak, but you might as well listen and reply. Customer Service Support is something that must be taken care for in the social media arena.
Malcolm Bell from Zaggora was very kind to share his experience building his company from scratch with us a couple of weeks ago on Google Squared. He spoke about The Social Media Loop where you have your “Traffic Users Network” that give “Social Proof” which brings people to your “Website” and translates into “Sales” that “Share their experience” which feeds the “Traffic User Network” again and here it all starts all over. He also pointed out how rewards and incentives can also help raising brand presence and awareness, for example, they gave away samples of the product being as noisy as they could on social media and gaining as much feedback as possible from these early adopters through these very same channels (Twitter, Facebook). Is there a best way to promote your product than having your customer saying it?
But yes, planning, contents, interactivity. It all requires an amount of time most of us lack. Some companies choose to outsource their voice. I wouldn’t do it in most of the cases. You want a well informed, genuine and insider voice to represent you. Your customers are probably going to be among those following you; would you like them to feel they are dealing with a stranger?
Here’s an image that shows the reasons for becoming a brand fan on Facebook:
Jennifer Grayeb summarises in an article what she calls the four pillars of community management: growth, engagement, listening, and improvement. Which I think every company should pay special attention to. Because can anyone point out a business free of the tech disruption that has brought along this social media craziness?
Sources for this entry
– Consumer Behavior by Solomon, Michael ( 2012 )
– “How To Build An Effective Social Marketing Strategy“, Forbes, Greg Satell
– “The 4 Pillars Of Community Management“, Forbes, Jennifer Grayeb
– “The Reasons Consumers Become Facebook Brand Fans“, Syncapse Blog, Max Kalehoff