The social media and consumer led content creation has brought huge challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
The general challenge for every brand leader is to manage brand’s reputation effectively no mater what the media is.
But controlling the conventional media has been always relatively easy but it is hard to control Social Media, which makes this media even more challenging.
In October 2010 GAP introduced a new version of their old logo that existed for over 20 years.
Within 3 days their Facebook page had over 250 negative comments.
The company was forced to take back its decision and begin a crowd-sourcing project for the new logo.
No matter how big or small the brand is, the social media is out there and is affecting the brand’s reputation.
Being socialized or not as a brand does not change the fact that if the brand is out there and people see it somehow, it will be talked about.
Not having a Twitter or Facebook account won’t change much. Not participating doesn’t make people stop talking about you; it just means you aren’t part of the conversation.
But when it comes to brand management, most brands are still spending the big chunk of their money to more conservative communication techniques such as boosting GRP’s to gain top of mind awareness and dominate the market.
360 planning are still the core of every brand management process.
Many brands are failing to recognize the importance of social media and socialized customers.
According to recent researches 78 % of online users, do an online research and read social media posts before making a purchase of a medium or high involvement product.
The online search rarely includes the official website of the brand. What they look is for reviews posted in forums, tweets, blogs..
Whether they love it or hate it, “social media skills” will be added to the list of New Era Brand Manager’s job requirements in the near future.
The biggest challenge for marketers will be to keep up with all the tools and changes that seem to be appearing overnight.
4Ps of marketing are usually stable and this is to what the marketing people are used to in management: Stability.
Social Media is everything but stable.
What makes brand managers even more hectic is the experimentation necessary in order to find the working strategy to engage consumers in a social media.
Experimentation means risk.
What new age brand managers are doing in order to improve the social side of their brands?
1. Monitor Brand Reviews
Company reviews are beneficial to companies as they are to consumers.
While customers benefit from finding which products and services will most adequately suit their needs, a business is able to obtain free word-of-mouth marketing.
Brand managers need to monitor the reviews.
Hiring a social media monitoring agency is a very often practice undertaken.
The professional monitoring agencies provide not only monitoring but sentiment analysis as well.
During social media monitoring the tools decide whether a specific online conversation is positive or negative and informs the brand leader as such.
2. 360 Degrees Vs. 365 Days Planning
The new digital reality for brands is that people are consuming and creating more content in more ways than ever before.
We now generate as much information every two days as was generated from the beginning of time to 2003.
So in the digital forms of marketing there is no place for long lasting big ideas supported with 360 degrees planning.
You have to be out there 365 days a year with 365 ideas a year.
Every day a new, fresh and engaging content must be delivered.
3. Not Only Content, But Context As Well
Context doesn’t happen by accident, brands need to consciously create it.
Context comes from the brand’s clarity about goals against the expectations of the audience.
The consumers do not expect you to sell them anything on social media.
You have to earn that right first.
It’s a two-step process.
First brand needs to deliver valuable content. For free.
Once done, the brand needs to expand to own agenda.
At that point the brand needs to move to the second stage: The Context.
It’s the main take away for a consumer from what the brand has created up till now. If he/she re-tweets the content, what does this tell about the re-tweeter? What is the context offered to the ones who take the necessary action asked by the socialized brand? That is the context offered by the brand.
4. All Social Media Does Not Matter
Often these days brands dive into a social platform without a plan because they think they have to be there.
All social media should not be targeted because each of them has a character and specific purpose.
The right platform is determined more by who your customers are and how they share information.
In order to effectively choose right platform, brand leaders should do lots of prior homework.
Social media needs to be relevant to your business objectives. There are many worthy and relevant business objectives for social media other than sales, such as brand building, awareness marketing and customer service.
5. Treat Social Media As A New Channel
Treat Social Media is a new channel not a substitute for a previous media.
Do not cut out from your TV spending.
Social Media is not a substitute for TV; it is an additional media to be utilized.
Have a separate strategy and budget for socializing your brand.
Do not try to understand social media through the lens of old media.
Never utilize your conventional strategy to social media.
It’s a new thing, treat it as such.
Start learning now and start learning without any prejudices.
6. No Monologs
From “One To Many” Monologue of TV move to “One To One“ personal engagement in Social Media.
Social media allows for a more engagement at personal level with the target audience.
Never use corporate jargon to stay true to your “serious” core mission.
Inject playful tonality.
Invite conversation among customers and you.
For example Twitter is like a chat around the water cooler. It’s the place to mix the personal and professional, with a strong emphasis on the present moment and humor.
7. Social Media Supported Market Research
Formal market research needs to be paired with attentive listening.
Social media should be treated as part of market research as well.
Traditional research has suffered from the dilemma that you can’t get the answers to questions that you don’t ask.
So smart brand leaders use social media listening to find things they didn’t find with traditional research, using surveys and focus groups to confirm social findings when needed.
Using social media tools and sites to ask questions is part of a broader trend called crowd sourcing. This is tapping into the collective intelligence of the public to complete a task.
8. Not Logos But Faces & Feelings
A brand should evolve a social media approach for visual brand expression that will hold up as more engaging.
If you will be more playful and engaging, putting up a logo wont be enough.
Create a system for your use of color, type, imagery, and design that will connect your many different social media communication initiatives.
Show the customers what is the real face of the brand.