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How Does a Brand Become Social? #WeFirst

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Does being social help a brand’s bottom line?

Today, we take the existence of popular social media platforms for granted in our daily lives.  Although not everyone is sharing online, many of us are.  Facebook alone boasts over 800 million active users at last count, but many other platforms are making tremendous leaps in accessibility and engagement.

Only six years ago, marketers were struggling to understand the importance of social media, and in fact most were still wondering if engaging on social platforms was even worth their time.  Of course, far fewer platforms existed at the time, and their interfaces were not nearly as sophisticated.  After the explosion of Facebook and Twitter, however, marketers have had only one question on their minds: how does a brand become social, and how does being social help a brand’s bottom line?

No Such Thing as “One Way”

Just as it is in the real world, social engagement can be a tricky thing.  At its most basic premise, however, if a brand wants to “go social” it must understand that conversations are a two-way street.  Marketers can’t simply take to Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and start demanding that users buy their products.

Aspiring social brands must learn to build dynamic relationships with their consumers.  Going social is about not only sharing their own rich content with users, but also responding to the content those users share with them.  The “one way street” model of marketing simply will not work in an era of collaborative engagement.

Imagine Yourself at a Party

Picture your brand as a person arriving at party full of strangers.  You were invited here by a loyal consumer, one your closest brand advocates, and it is their job to show you around the room and introduce you to the rest of their friends.

Obviously you’re going to want to make a good first impression, and with as many individuals as possible.  To do this, you’ll first need to understand the type of party you’ve joined.  Is this a business party, a chance to make contacts?  Or is it a casual affair, a chance to tell a few good jokes and make new friends?

Knowing the nature of your environment—as well as what you’re hoping to get out of your interactions—is the most essential component of social branding.  If you’re not sure why you’re at the party, you’re going to find it difficult to connect with anyone, as you’ll likely come off as inauthentic—a phony.

Be the Life of the Party

Once you’re at the party, you’re going to want to tell everyone about yourself and what you do.  And you should, but remember: nobody likes monologues.  If you don’t let your new acquaintances get some words in edgewise, they’ll likely lose interest and go find someone else to talk to.  Share yourself with them, but allow them to share with you, too.  By doing so, you’ll likely find the conversation heading in surprising—and potentially lucrative—directions.

By doing this, you’ll get people talking about you, even if you’re no longer a direct part of every conversation.  Remember, it’s not just about you and the products you’re offering—it’s about the story you’re telling.  When people talk about you, they’ll be talking about their experience with you, and not the things you’re trying to sell them.

In other words, to become a successful social brand that truly inspires consumer loyalty, your brand story has to matter.  If people can’t identify with your brand’s mission, personality and values, they simply won’t engage, no matter how persistent your social media presence may be.

Learn how to build and maintain communities.

As you know, the demands of the social business marketplace require brands to build and maintain communities in a more deeply engaged manner than ever before. To hear more about How Brands Become Community Architects, click below for a 5-minute video from We First.  To receive 3 free social branding training videos, plus We First monthly newsletters, special content and announcements. We promise never to share your information, and of course, you can opt-out any time.

It’s incredibly important to get the right training and help when it comes finding your way as a social brand. Simon Mainwaring helps companies do just that. He is the founder of We First, the leading social branding firm that provides consulting and training to help companies build communities, profits and positive social impact. His book, We First, is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Amazon bestseller. It was named an Amazon Top Ten Business Book for 2011, 800CEORead Top Five Marketing Book for 2011, and global management magazine strategy+business named it the Best Business Marketing Book of 2011.

Simon’s firm, We First, is making training available for the very first time that teaches entrepreneurs, small businesses and companies how to define their brand story and tell it using social media specific to today’s marketplace. With insights into the best practices of the smartest brands in the world, this training teaches you how to become a profitable and impactful social brand. Every buyer gets an extra online training access pass to give to his or her favorite non-profit, and for this week only, every purchaser gets two FREE TICKETS to the next We First Social Branding Seminar in Los Angeles, March 2013 (one for them and one for a non-profit, value $4000).

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR SOCIAL BRANDING BLUEPRINT NOW. I promise the insights in this program are not to be missed.


Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Branding, Communication, Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Strategy | 2 comments

Bio

Cheryl Burgess
Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess), co-founder, CEO and CMO of Blue Focus Marketing®. She is responsible for helping clients transform their brands into social businesses by implementing strategic initiatives that empower social employee engagement and advocacy, and social executive leadership. She is the co-author of best selling book, The Social Employee, (McGraw-Hill, 2013) that includes success stories from IBM, AT&T, Dell, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, etc. and hailed by management guru, Tom Peters, as his favorite #1 social business book. Burgess is a special advisory board member for The Economist Intelligence Unit, research arm of The Economist Group. She is listed as Forbes “Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Masters”; Forbes “Must-Follow Marketing Minds – 2014”; #8 Top CMOs on Twitter, and named by Huffington Post as a social media “Passionista.” She is a contributor to Harvard Business Review - Italia, external expert blogger for the AT&T Networking Exchange blog, CEO.com and CMO.com. Burgess has been an invited keynote speaker at Social Business Forum 2014 – Milan, Italy, IBM Connect 2014, Dell World 2013, Integrated Marketing Week NYC -2014, Pivotcon - NYC, Rutgers Business School, AT&T, and KPMG events. Burgess is a proud contributor to the Wharton Future of Advertising 2020. Her company’s blog, Blue Focus Marketing®, won the MarketingSherpa 2012 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Social Media Marketing Blog. She is the winner of five Twitter Shorty Awards in Marketing. In 2011, she co-founded the #Nifty50 Top Men & Women on Twitter Awards. Follow her on Twitter at @ckburgess, @SocialEmployee and @BlueFocus. Google+

2 Comments

  1. Great article, great analogy. I would add that each network has its own personality and style and finding the right fit is so important.

    As I’ve counseled some friends contemplating social media for their companies: really think about whether you have the time and desire to understand, engage and respond on a given platform before plunging in. Because once you start a dialogue customers will certainly tell you what they think. Are you prepared to listen?

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