In this day and age, if an organization wants to be successful, it needs to think and act like a media company, or so the majority says.
We live in a social media driven world. If a brand is to embrace this world, it must learn how to navigate within this world effectively. The brand will need to fight through and stand out amidst the social media frenzy that threatens to consume its potential consumers on a daily, minute-by-minute basis.
Relevance is figuring out what interests your consumer, and how you can become apart of their conversation(s). You will need to get to know your consumer very well. Thankfully, there are many tools out there that will help you do just that. (Check out Demographics Pro, and Wisdom App. For more info on DP, click here, or if you want to find out if your friends are republicans or democrats, just click here.)
There are a number of things to consider and prepare for before diving in. Social media by-and-large is viewed as fun and exciting, and at times a platform for a public meltdown (Which is still exciting. Who doesn’t like to watch a train-wreck?!). Everyone has an opinion, and there are many voices that want to be heard. Let’s highlight a few of the challenges you are likely to face.
1. Content: You must generate a lot of relevant, rich content. You will lose credibility fast if you start a social media page and then fail to post consistently. British Airlines got the social media backhand for “being on Twitter for a few months and only updating their account seven or so times” (Brito, 2013). According to a quote by Adi Betton–CEO of ownerlistens.com in this article written by Jennifer Lonoff Shiff, “consumers expect you to be monitoring them”. If you aren’t posting or responding, then you are ignoring.
2. Employees Inappropriate Use of Social Media: It’s bound to happen. For excellent examples, click here. Having a strategy to avoid such disasters in place is imperative.
3. What are my roles? What are my responsibilities? Social media jobs need a home in a company. Do they belong in marketing or PR? Don’t know? Most people don’t. Create a solid strategy so that the roles and responsibilities are clear as day to your entire staff, (especially to the rowdy bottom-line marketing teams :) ). (Brito, 2013)
To help generate content, use your employees, customers, and partners. Storytelling is a highly effective approach as it forms connections. Connections produce brand advocacy (bonus!), which feeds right back into the stakeholders (double bonus!).
These techniques will help in building relationships with your customer (brand loyalty!), but remember, relationships change so be flexible. Here is what Peter Friedman, CEO of LiveWorld, had to say in a recent guest post on Scott Monty’s website: “As you develop followers, their activity will help you revise and improve your approach, leading to new answers and ideas...With customers’ help your brand will evolve and grow stronger and with it their loyalty.”
With so much emphasis on using social media for marketing, and even with impressive statistics, is becoming a “social media company” the only way to grow? Perhaps not. Consider these successful businesses that are doing just fine without the likes of Facebook and Twitter (thankyouverymuch). And then there are the smaller businesses that aren’t having much success promoting their brand on social media despite their best efforts, according to a recent article written by Oliver St. John. The reasons vary, including efforts placed on social media over websites, which are already proven to work.
The bottom line is the consumer. Know your consumer well. Study demographics and psychographics, and find out how your consumer views social media. With this information, the right strategies, and the right tools, you can make an informed decision on the best approach to becoming a ‘social media company’, and if it’s right for your company at all.