In my previous post I discussed the upcoming issue of FastCompany and their section on social media. There are two other great articles this week that drive home one concept: traditional marketing does not work in social media; brand management needs to change.
Brand management needs to become brand engagement. To achieve this brands must enable real conversations, be organic and authentic, create benefits for both the brand and the consumer and most importantly be available everywhere. Smartphones allow customers to engage with the brand wherever they are – home, business, restaurant, street – and at any point during the decision making process. Ubiquitous shopping is here, therefore ubiquitous branding should follow. This doesn’t mean in your face branding, but it does mean give customers the tools to enable those real conversations. But don’t just take it from me that social branding is the way to go; look at the research of how brand engagement can strengthen your brand.
“Moreover, studies show that companies that successfully engage their customers on social media have more loyal customers–and that those customers end up buying 20% to 40% more from that brand than they would otherwise.”
Social media adoption by Fortune 500 companies is on the rise – but is it effectively being used? Apparently, some of this companies are still socially shy and are hindering those real conversations that need to happen in the new era of social branding. Brand engagement also brings with it service as part of the social branding execution. Customer service can no longer be a separate tactic or strategy, as it is intrinsic of social branding. It goes back to that first step of enabling real conversations. Your brand is now a person that can talk, persuade and respond, therefore customer service has to be thought of when you are designing your social branding strategy.
“Companies don’t understand that social media is not just a marketing vehicle. They aren’t realizing that there needs to be a brand execution discussion. Of the actionable tweets and Facebook posts a company gets, only about 20% relate the marketing – the rest are about service. Sales and marketing is the promise – but service is the delivery. Companies need to start integrating the service and marketing aspects of social media.”
Hence, the idea that many companies still provide no email address for customers to contact them shows how how many of them still don’t get it; still are trying to fit social branding within the traditional marketing mold. And I’ve I said before that doesn’t work in social media.
“Companies are still seeing social media through the lens of marketing, not as part of an overall brand execution strategy.”
One important thing to keep in mind is that social branding is NOT limited to only social and mobile media. Social branding should happen in traditional media as well. QR codes for example are a way to “converse” with the customer from a print execution. Social TV is the new TV advertising – where ads and shows now include QR codes and hashtags to start conversations and get customers to interact with the brand.
Social branding is the new brand management, and marketing and brand managers alike need to understand that. Media has become social hence the strategy and execution need to be social – whether you use social or traditional media.