Social Enabling Your Brand

Image Credit: Inverse Blindness Machine: The Cool Hunter

Your brand now lives just about anywhere people congregate and interact on and offline!  Social media enables consumers to interact with your brand’s product and services in meaningful ways that were unheard of up until the last 12-24 months.

The conversation stream is coming at your brand in just about any and every way imaginable - Tweets, Likes, Yelp Reviews, Forums, Blog Comments, Videos. Your poor brand is under a digital assault like never before!  Brand command and control needs to be your marketing mantra moving forward. Some insight from here on the digital frontlines.

Identify the Right Community and Build Brand Advocates

Today’s social consumers are sharing their thoughts and feelings about your brand across many communities and sites. The conversation may start with a visit to your web site, then a clickthrough to your Facebook fan page, Twitter account or YouTube channel or a specialized community site like Yelp via a standard web connection or a smartphone.

Your challenge is identifying where your customers are living digitally and to then engaging your brand with them. You don’t build brand advocates by pushing content (text, images, videos) at them. You must engage with these digerati in a meaningful way by getting them to interact with your content and share it with others. And, identifying  and engaging uber connected “thought leaders” with your brand is even better.

  • You want to identify the right platform and community and motivate the members of these communities to connect with your social media profile and engage with your brand.
  • The two best applications and platforms that we use on behalf of existing client campaigns to identify thought leaders, connectors, heavyweights, etc. (whatever your term du jour) are Peer Index and Klout.
  • PeerIndex has a broader set of components in their ranking algorithm but Klout’s user interface is a bit easier to grasp. But, we highly recommend both vendors and they are licensing their technology to a large number of other companies like HootSuite and Nimble.

Leveraging Facebook’s Market Dominance

Facebook is reshaping how brands market their products and services. It’s unparalleled growth, sophisticated platform and market dominance are reshaping marketing in the digital age.

Image Credit: Swaroski Japan

Facebook has morphed from a pure destination site to a platform that lets your brand interact with this vibrant community in a number of meaningful ways.

All the cool brands around the world the last 3-6 months have touted how many “likes” they have on Facebook. But, this one touch marketing technique has been passed over for meaningful activity on Facebook.

Your interaction with Facebook consumers now needs to start with a “like” that moves the consumer into a broader immersive engagement with your brand. The “like” is not the end game but the start of a chain of marketing activities that you want to cultivate with Facebook consumers.

Your “like” marketing can now can lead to wall recommendations, an embedded ecommerce mini store on y0ur Facebook page that drive immediate revenue, connecting the consumer to your Twitter account, taking a survey, downloading a video, watching a “live” broadcast of an event and much/much more. One to one engagement can drive your brand into uncharted marketing territory - to underscore, the “like” is just the beginning of brand engagement.

Brand Protection

You’ve done a superb job of building brand awareness across the social web.  Now, how do you monitor what’s being said about your brand?  This is a simple question with a complex answer, with variances tied to your social media platforms of choice, the dynamics of your content development and curation, size of company and related brand (small business to corporate entity) and marketing resources. Recommended Platforms and Services:

Creating Brand Relevancy

It’s critical to make your social media campaigns and strategy relevant to your target demographics. A cutting edge clothing lifestyle brand like Diesel can get away with integrating sexy male and female models across all of their marketing initiatives, including print, TV, web and social media. Diesel is “storytelling” with buffed actors, coupled with superbly written content and strong graphical elements that really engages with their target audience demographics via their web site and all top tier social platforms.

Image Credit: Mad Men

But, if your selling insurance to families your campaign’s content and imagery needs to resonate with your demographics - pictures and videos of families, homes and children are going to create brand relevancy with this demographic. Calls to action need to incorporate content that adds value to the relationship such as White Papers, comparison costs, Case Studies, etc.

Be creative with your brand and add value to existing content that your pushing out on the social web about your brand. A blog post can talk about how your products or services save your customers money or make their lives more interesting. But, a simple post with no outbound links to other resources is not going to engage your community as well as one with embedded resource links.

Driving people to a Facebook page is a good idea. But, it’s not real engaging. Giving them the ability to download a discount coupon as Starbucks has done and share this with others is much more engaging and drives brand value.

To summarize. Set your brand free on the social web and don’t fret over too many measurements and ROI details. Social media marketing is moving at warp speed and you are never going to be able to capture the digital touchpoints that reflect a well received brand. Get to market with a strategic plan and refine/improve downstream!

That’s not to say you shouldn’t measure social media ROI analytics. You absolutely should. But social enabling your brand is again all about setting it free, driving engagement and conversation. If done right, you’ll reap tremendous rewards with a broader targeted customer base of brand advocates! Go forth brand evangelists and multiply!