. A Human Face and Voice
It is not too much of a stretch to say that brands are often viewed as vacuous properties whose only goal is to exist for profit. That might be an overly cynical perspective, but this has been born out over a series of decades ranging from a variety of socioeconomic and cultural factors.
This is where social media can be a presence for good to combat this notion. The reality is that all organisations big and small are developed, run and cared for by everyday people, making it a necessity to highlight the human element within “the brand.”
Now this is touching on an endless debate that has raged for the best part of a decade – should companies behave like people online? To what degree do we humanise our presence on these platforms?
On one side of the debate is Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel who argued that social media accounts should not act as “your buddy.” This followed a push by the likes of Cole & Weber United director Britt Peterson who published an article in Forbes to say that brands must develop a character to succeed.
Yet Entrepreneur’s Jackie Johnstone put it best when she explained that the professional and conventional approach is a quick way of losing traction. As Johnstone states, it is best to grab the smartphone and shoot a video or take a group selfie and publish the content. Social media is the best tool to showcase a human voice and face to your operation.
2. Increases Communication Pathways
Take your company hat off for just one moment. Consider the most frustrating elements of contacting a business from a customer’s perspective. There might be a few issues that jump to mind, but one that should crop up is the ability to communicate directly to the organisation.
From general enquiries to product or pricing questions, it is imperative that an enterprise has the capacity to listen, understand and engage with their consumers as fast as humanly possible.
This gives social media an added layer of importance to be a free and easy method of customer service. Rather than the need to have a phone line open 40 hours a week or have a convoluted message board on a contact tab of a webpage, an enquiry can be sent and responded to in minutes.
That instantaneous two-way communication will be respected by a majority of consumers. A site like Facebook will also inform users about the response rate of various pages, giving them a sense of which operations take their social media seriously.
3. Boost to Brand Awareness
Reaching a large audience can be one of the toughest tasks facing any marketing professional. There are the usual channels that traditional outlets have operated in for decades, from television to print advertising and radio. While they still have their merits, there is a plethora of online users active throughout social media.
Those that are regular daily, weekly or monthly visitors will likely never come across your brand with a general Google search or from a traditional form of advertising. Having a social media presence across a variety of platforms will naturally boost brand awareness by placing yourself in the same space your peers operate in.
Better yet, there is every chance that they won’t have a space or are using it without the right amount of consumer engagement. Brand awareness might be a common marketing 101 buzzword, but it is a facet of business that leads to tangible growth metrics. Awareness leads to a change in consumer habits which builds loyalty and long-term customers, so the investment in the concept is worth it.
4. Develop Corporate Partnerships
The notion of co-marketing might not be top of the agenda, but joining forces for a campaign that combines your efforts can double the dividend. Social media is littered with examples of brands leveraging strategic partnerships online to boost their own numbers and tap into an audience that are looking for something extra.
Some well-known examples include:
- Uber and Spotify
- Red Bull and GoPro
- Lucasfilm and CoverGirl
- Apple and Nike
- Starbucks and Lady Gaga
The latter example was a case of the pop star using the reach of the coffee giant to bring attention to a charitable cause. Through their campaign #cupsofkindness, both brands managed to raise funds for youth empowerment through her foundation Born This Way.
Shared economy app Uber recognised the popularity of Spotify and wanted to tap into a music hub that improved the passenger experience. This was a clever way of acknowledging a service that was complimentary to their own and partnered with the streaming giant to improve the standing of both properties.
Social media’s role in these partnerships is to cross-promote and drive the shared campaigns. They also act as easy points of research to gauge how many followers the other party has.
5. Geographic and Demographic Targeting
Directing a targeted campaign or marketing message can be executed so much easier with the help of social media. The very concept of marketing is to drive a brand’s product or service to a select group of people who can be swayed and convinced to buy in.
Thanks to the software applications that are at the disposal of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, gone are the days when a message is lost to a segment of the population that were never interested in the first place.
A paid Facebook advertisement is the best example of this geographic and demographic targeting, whereby the location and profile of the user is pre-selected. That makes a world of difference across all niches.
If you run an operation, you will already have inherent knowledge as to your target market. What social media enables you to do is create campaigns that feed that specific demographic instantaneously.
6. Improvement of SEO Status
Search engine hubs like Google have been forced to recognise and acknowledge the growing influence social media plays in modern culture. Much like a number of grand organisations, the common consensus a decade ago was that there was little to no commercial benefit from these platforms. Now they are core methods of obtaining organic traffic – one of the top search engine optimisation (SEO) indicators.
Given the millions of monthly active social media users in Australia alone, search engines have to trace where the traffic flows from. This interconnectivity has established a relationship between these parties to the point where hits gleaned from social media profiles become part of the marketing model.
Put simply – a strong social media presence strengthens your hand at SEO. Should you focus on improving your SEO or social media performance, chances are you are doubling your efforts without even realising it.