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Ed Keller and Brad Fay discuss the shortcomings of social media in their new book, The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace.  Brad Fay explains that the effectiveness of social media marketing lies in its ability to connect people.  In their research, Fay and Keller found that only 3% of product talk occurs online, with the remaining 97% occurring in person.  The key to advertising and marketing is to create a desire among people to talk about the product whether online or offline.

When creating a marketing strategy, keep in mind that popularity does not necessarily equal marketing success, and remember that you now must integrate social and traditional means to optimize success.  A marketing campaign may end up being popular, but without relevant content, it is necessarily going to be effective.  Content is still king.  Fay explains that the viral success of a commercial may not necessarily lead to person-to-person discussion about the actual product.  A marketing campaign should make people talk about the product or service, not about the campaign itself.

Brad Fay and Ed Keller certainly do not diminish social media marketing, but they emphasize social media to be used as a tool to enable discussions among people.  The focus of marketing, social or traditional, should be to transform customers into ambassadors of the brand.

Companies are proving that Twitter gives their brand a voice that stands out and encourages a dialogue between the companies and the community.  Twitter is a place to be yourself and speak your mind, and successfully branded Twitter pages have done just that.

Consumers are able to have a dialogue with a company through social media, instead of only viewing traditional advertising.  Many companies approach social media differently, and what works for one company, may not work for another.  Some businesses create an individual persona for their social media accounts (like using the voice of the CEO or specific employer), others create a  forum led by customer comments and conversations, but all successful social media campaigns create a unique voice for their brand that serves to enhance and support their overall mission.

  • Starbucks perfectly exemplifies the community-based dialogue that can be accomplished on social media. On Twitter, Starbucks responds to both compliments and complaints, even if it is simply someone tweeting about their morning cup of coffee.  Starbucks has established a brand voice that is engaging by tweeting daily to specific Starbucks customers.
  • Coca-Cola is another dialogue-driven social media campaign.  Most of their tweets are  written to specific Twitter users who have engaged  with the brand.  Like Southwest and Starbucks, Coca-Cola creates a personalized brand by creating conversations with customers.   

Managing a Facebook Career Page is another way to broaden a company’s social engagement.  It may seem a bit superfluous to have a Facebook Career Page in addition to a company website or company LinkedIn profile, but having a career page on Facebook immediately opens up a business to the 901 million Facebook users.

By curating your Facebook Career Page yourself, instead of letting Facebook automatically create one, you are taking control of your brand, much the same way as creating a page for your business gives you control over the content.  Managing your company’s page yourself is the only way that you can control how your brand is marketed.

Having a career page provides an outlet for you to create a dialogue with your consumer base.  Marketing through social media is all about creating a community of followers and interacting with your followers can strengthen your brand, SEO, and customer base.  Some tips for engaging your followers on Facebook include: sharing links instead of only text and give your followers reason to spread the word of your brand through promotions, useful original content, and thoughtful leadership.  Include phrases such as “share with your friends” and “click here” to create an interactive relationship with your followers.  Direct them to your other web presences to add value and track the user engagement.

Having a Facebook Career Page can be time consuming, but it can also be an asset to help build your brand.  LIke any medium, make sure this also fits with your overall brand strategy before you just hit “Go”.

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