Newly arrived managing director of We Are Social, Suzie Shaw, believes that a social media strategy shouldn’t be something that plays on the periphery of a business but should be at the core of every decision the business makes.
Both Shaw and We Are Social co-founder Nathan McDonald spoke to B&T about how they believe social’s gone from having a Facebook page to it being “at the heart of everything we do with marketing”. While McDonald added it would be the bad brands in the future who would have to depend on advertising as they attempted to spend their way out of trouble and change their customers’ perceptions.
Shaw said: “Social is no longer a thing on the side, it’s no longer just a Facebook post, it’s the way consumers, people in the world are engaging and it’s changing so many things and disrupting our world and the way we connect.
“A lot of clients tell us that they want an idea that’s social by design; they want this idea that consumers want to share and engage with collectively, they want to participate and that’s no longer something that just sits on Facebook; rather it’s a total communication ecosystem that has got social thinking about the way consumers connect with an idea and connect with each other baked into it strategically,” she said.
Shaw admitted she was a huge fan of Droga 5’s work which she said is always built from a social perspective. “They’re always thinking, ‘what is it about this idea, what is it that will make people want to share, talk about it, engage with it?’ All their best work has that thinking at the heart of it, that understands what consumers talk about with each other and what is driving culture.”
What social has done, McDonald added, was put brands on notice. They could no longer offer bad service or products or support for risk of being taken to task by disgruntled customers using social to vent their disaffected spleens.
“In the past bad brands used to be able to hit everybody over the head with advertising and spend their way out of having a bad product, but now everything is kinda transparent and people very quickly realise that it’s a bad product,” he said.
“Someone once said that advertising is a tax you have to pay if you have a bad product. So if you have a truly great product, people talk about it and awareness builds without any advertising.
“Amazing brands will always be part of culture and part of the conversation and amazing brands earn the right to be part of the conversation because, as humans, we just talk about any great experiences we have; the great movie you saw or the great TV show or whatever it is…
“And there are a lot of bad products and bad categories that have to spend their way out of it because no one wants to talk about them. Social’s just a free kick along for products that deserve it,” McDonald said.
But has social really just given a whole lot of whingers a soapbox to moan?
“For sure,” Shaw admits, but says for every person who’ll attack a brand there are plenty more who’ll defend it too.
“There’s a lot of communities where they’ll actually stand up for the brand. Someone makes a negative comment (on social media) and their fans will actually stand-up for the brand and say that’s not right, it’s not fair. Brands are now generating true followership and seeing their customers becoming stronger advocates and having a stronger affinity than they ever did, and that’s because they’re having much stronger conversations with their audiences now,” she said.