WORLD VIEW: As I travel around the USA attending conferences and speaking at events, one thing stands out to me in relation to brand engagement – particularly in social media circles. It needs to be more personal.
What do I mean by that? Well, for one thing, it takes more than ‘likes’ and clicks to develop relationships.
People respond to people the best in one-on-one, face-to-face situations – that’s just the way we are. So when you try to automate that process and remove the personal connection, immediately there’s a wall between you and your audience.
People gravitate toward social communities to talk to each other, find out what’s going on, ask for recommendations for things or services we need or want, etc. So social engagement isn’t just about posting stuff – it’s about communicating with real people.
Now, besides the daily back-and-forth chatter, people use the web and social channels to find information. But not just any information.
When they’re looking for a product or service they would rather hear a story from another person’s experience. Forget pitching, forget ads. How do you get real people to tell real stories about their great experience with your brand? That’s where community building comes in.
Let me give you an example. At Collective Bias, we’re all about brands and retailer in-channel, and how people make their purchases. We aim to connect shoppers with the brands and the retailers that they use in their daily lives to drive conversation on social media.
We do it through a blogging community called Social Fabric, which weaves organic social content into real-life stories that get shared not only in that community but across lots of platforms and communities.
In the end, these stories create millions of impressions that lead to increased share of voice. That means that when people type in a search about those products, they don’t just get ingredients or corporate logos, they get connected to a story from someone who actually uses that product.
Social stories are very powerful – more powerful than any other type of media today when it comes to increasing sales for brands and retailers. In fact, according to a recent IBM study, social voice increases marketing effectiveness by up to 54%, and a 10% lift in social voice can result in a sales lift of up to 1.5%.
The secret sauce here is providing good content, because content creates a platform for people and brands to communicate, not just about products and services, but about what is important to consumers.
If your content is on target, it will be spread freely via social platforms. A blog post is just the beginning of the journey.
People influenced by the blog share what they’ve read wherever they communicate, and because this content is evergreen, it will live on for a long time (unlike a one-and-done advertisement).
It is an incredibly potent form of word-of-mouth marketing as long as you make your audience’s needs, desires and interests the focus. Take them on the journey of transformation with your content because content drives engagement, engagement drives advocacy, and advocacy correlates directly with increased sales.
How do we find out what’s important to our audiences? Ask them. Have social conversations, pick up the telephone and talk to your best customers. Engage them in conversation. Ask them what’s keeping them up at night – what they’re passionate about, or how you could improve your product. Social is great for asking those kinds of questions so you understand where your audience is coming from rather than simply trying to sell them something. And most important: listen. There is conversation happening on social platforms every day so start paying attention.
However, lots of brands still don’t get it. They think of social as just another media channel and throw away opportunities to use it to really connect with their audiences.
In fact, I’ll be speaking later this year at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Business Summit in Nashville on the worst mistakes brands make in social and how to avoid them. One of the biggest mistakes is not taking advantage of the word-of-mouth opportunity that social provides. I would like to see more brands participate in communities that actively encourage this.
For instance, at an event called Hispanicise in Miami I spent time with an incredibly passionate Latino community. They are true connectors and put an incredible amount of value on the recommendation, shared passions, and what their friends and relatives are using, buying and participating in.
In fact, Hispanics engage in 53% more word-of-mouth than the general public. Spanish speaking word-of-mouth is highly actionable. It is likely to contain a buy/try recommendation, be passed along, and lead to purchase.
Are there lessons here that brands should be picking up on? Absolutely.
One of the biggest ones is learning to adapt your communication to better engage with your target audience.
Don’t just talk at them, listen to what they’re saying. Ask questions. Empower your employees to be responsive on social channels so they can help you get closer to your customers.
Above all, find ways to make social engagement more personal. I’m hoping that people are going to start recognising that a click of a button doesn’t mean making a friend.
Brands need to start valuing relationships a lot more and recognising that they need to communicate. They need to meet people. They need to actually be social, even if that’s online.
That means thinking in terms of ROR (Return on Relationship) rather than simply ROI.
Ted Rubin is chief social marketing officer at Collective Bias in the States.
Rubin will hold a Global Leaders’ Masterclass on brand advocacy at ADMA Global Forum on August 7 and is a keynote speaker at the event on August 8.
Please login with linkedin to comment
Canteen’s latest campaign features the combined talents of Director Luna Laure and creative agency Crater. The campaign strives to raise awareness for young people affected by cancer. The awareness campaign centres around Harry Barentson, who at 12 years of age found out his pregnant mum had cancer. While his mother fortunately survived, he lost his […]
In partnership with storytelling agency Enthral, AFL star Kevin Sheedy has voiced a video ‘Love Letter to Victoria’ using visuals to showcase the state’s natural beauty and culture. Victoria has been hit with the worst of the coronavirus pandemic compared with any other Aussie state experiencing four lockdowns. Sheedy has partnered with Ethral to share […]
Telstra’s lower-cost telco, Belong, has awarded its strategy and creative account to Howatson + White, and has reappointed OMD to its media buying account, after a competitive pitch process. Howatson + White will handle strategy, planning, creative and CRM, while former agency Clemenger will continue to have a relationship with Belong, managing PR and retail activation. […]
Coca-Cola Australia has rolled out its new campaign ‘Turn Up Your Break’. The campaign will be led by a TVC that encourages people to truly pause with a Coke on their break so they can walk away feeling refreshed and uplifted. The TVC features two busy chefs stepping outside for a break, the bustling kitchen […]
Nova 919’s Ben & Liam breakfast show announced that they’ll be throwing their support behind and raising awareness for a cause very close to their hearts, mental health. On Monday 21 June Ben Harvey and Liam Stapleton will be locked in a purpose-built glass structure, in the middle of Rundle Mall, for an entire week […]
TRENDii has announced TRENDii Ads, a new contextual advertising solution that leverages content and context to promote eCommerce products at scale around the world. TRENDii Ads is user privacy friendly and offers a new way for businesses and brands to target consumers at the moment that they are most inspired to shop. “We believe good […]
ARN and The New York Times have reached an agreement for ARN to become the advertising sales representative for The New York Times’s podcast portfolio in Australia. The deal will enable Australian brands to connect with Australian listeners to The New York Times’s most popular podcasts, such as The Daily, Serial and This American Life, […]
Verizon Media’s talent program has come to an end for the third year, closing with a hybrid pitch-off event for Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD). The Verizon Media Academy class of 2021, made up of 44 emerging leaders from across Australia and New Zealand media, advertising and marketing industry, were given just one hour to […]