In today’s world social media has become the new up-and-coming channel. It’s like what email used to be ten years ago. The challenge is, most brands are still trying to understand what does social media mean to us? So today I’m going to cover the purpose of social media, and how different brands have done a really good job or failed. Hopefully this can help your organization guide you and your social media strategy. Please note, the order of these items is not in the order of importance. It is up to your organization to identify what is most important to you.
Number One: Brand Identity. Social media is a way where a company can really show their brand message and their brand identity. This can be expressed in the tone of how they express themselves on Twitter or on Facebook; it can be expressed in the images they share, the tone of their communications and the types of companies they partner with. At the end of the day, social media is a continuation of your brand representation. Having said that, the tone of your messages should also reflect your brand. So if you’re a B2C company with a brand that focuses to the younger demographic, than that should translate in your social media identity and how you talk to your customers. On the other side, if you are a B2B company then most likely that same tone is not the right way to represent your brand.
Number Two: Customer Service. The truth is, we’ve all seen the examples where customers make comments on Facebook or Twitter about their negative experience and the story becomes viral. A few airlines are prime examples of experiences of how customers use customer service for social media but the brand doesn’t. A customer posted a video with a link on Twitter to a song he wrote about his bad experience on one of the airlines, that video went viral, all of a sudden you have a million views on a story about why you should not fly on a specific airline. This is why customer service monitoring is extremely important from a social media perspective. If you’re going to make a play in social media, make sure you have someone consciously listening and responding to the post and to the customers, so if there is a negative story, you address it right away. And the fact is, the quicker you address it, the more likely you’ll be able to save that relationship with the customer.
Number Three: Customer acquisition. Social media has a very viral aspect to it. Twitter has 140 million active users on a monthly basis on Twitter. Facebook has 500million active monthly users. That’s a huge demographic of potential customers. So from that perspective, you have an engaged user online who is listening and browsing and clicking — that’s the type of person you potentially might want as your fan or as your customer. So social media becomes a channel for customer acquisition. Make sure that if make customer acquisition a goal of your social media strategy, you should also than implement infrastructure to allow you to measure this. Just because you have 20,000 fans on your Facebook account does not mean that 20,000 fans are engaged. Most likely you’ll be lucky if 40% of them are engaged.
Number Four: Customer Engagement. Social media is a great pathway to engage people in your base. It’s another way to send a message to them and to get them to buy something, or to view a trial, or to download a product. From that perspective, social media becomes an engagement vehicle. Once again, this is where it’s very important that you implement infrastructure for reporting. So whatever your KPIs are, you are thinking about how you are going to measure them so that you’re able to assign value to the actions that you are doing and the channel. The other aspect around customer engagement is that social media when done successfully will lead to potential viral messages. And that’s kind of the golden egg for online marketers is to do a campaign that truly goes viral and that gets engagement from a couple of hundred thousand or even a million customers or potential customers. And with social media you can do this via engaging with talent, and doing tutor chats, or doing sweepstakes, or doing social media games; there’s a lot of different things that brands have done, but at the end of the day, Facebook and Twitter really lend themselves to those types of activities.
So, you have these four different purposes of social media. What you need to do as a brand, or what is important for you to do as a brand, is to prioritize – what is your end goal? What is the purpose for your brand?
If you have any questions, as always please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org