Brand marketing has always been driven by one thing – sales. This is what brands ultimately want, for consumers to purchase the products or services they are offering. This is the main reason why most brands spend a lot of money on advertising and marketing campaigns.
But social media is revolutionizing how consumers interact with the brands they like. Instead of the typical passive involvement they get through traditional media, social media has given them an excellent platform for engaging with their brands in two-way conversations that are a lot more meaningful to them.
So what does this mean for brand marketing? Let’s look at three things that brands should think about when it comes to using social media in their marketing mix.
1. Social media is relationship-focused, not sales-driven
Though companies and businesses are ultimately driven by sales, they should adjust their focus when using social media in their marketing campaign. People use social media to form relationships, not to be sold products or services. My favorite statement shared by my friend and Personal Branding Blog publisher, Dan Schawbel, is “don’t ask for the sale; ask for the relationship.” It goes hand in hand with the focus of humanize to monetize.
This is why people who like or follow brands in different social networking sites are hoping for a better association with them. They’re interested in learning about upcoming events and exclusive offerings, which is kind of similar to how their other friends would tell them about an event or sale.
Basically, consumers want to be treated less like customers, but more like friends. They want to support brands that they really like; that have a story and people behind them they can relate to and are approachable.
2. In addition to getting your message across, social media is about listening to what others are saying about your brand
The great thing about social networking is the fact that it helps you engage with brand consumers in two-way conversations. This is why in addition to focusing on the message you want to deliver, you should also listen to what people are saying about your brand.
Yes, conceptualizing different ways to build your company further is a good idea, but have you thought about asking your consumers directly what they want?
Their insights and suggestions can definitely help you improve their experience of your brand, which is a win-win situation for you. You are basically empowering your consumers by asking them about their opinion. They feel honored that you’re listening to them and taking note of their suggestions, which increases their participation and connection with the brand.
3. Social media gives consumers the opportunity to share their story through their experience of the brand
Social media has an incredibly viral effect on people. The great thing about social networking sites is how easy it is to share information with others. In Twitter, people “retweet” an interesting post; in Facebook, friends share interesting articles, pictures, links, and videos with each other. And the best part is, it’s so easy to spread the information. Think about it: one person spreads it to his hundred friends, and one of his friends spreads it to his thousand friends, and so on.
So how do brands take advantage of this? It’s important that you give your consumers the tools to help them spread the word about their experience of your brand. Downloads, links, pictures, videos… through social media, these are easily shared. So if you post an interesting video, one of your followers could very well repost it on his wall, and one of his friends could also post it in his newsfeed. You’ve thereby created what is called a “momentum effect” where consumers interact with other consumers to spread the word about your brand.
Social media has really changed how brand communication is done. This is because through the different social networking platforms, your brand’s message can basically take on a life of its own as your consumers share it with their friends who can become future consumers as well. The important thing is making sure that you continuously offer your audience an excellent experience of your brand, so they would be encouraged to promote it.