Michelle Gautrin, Senior Social Media Strategist, Digital Marketing, APAC, Adobe Systems @mgautrin
Last week I attended a Social Media Branding event in Singapore where brands like StarHub, SingTel, Domino’s Pizza, Lenovo, Marina Bay Sands and more, talked about the ways they’re using social media to elevate their brand and reach customers. One concept really stuck with me and was the underlining theme of everyone’s presentation: Conversation is King.
Social has given brands an opportunity to listen and connect with their customers on a deeper level. Rather than focusing on pushing out content, brands need to shift, and start listening to the conversations happening about them and join the discussion with value add input. We need to start humanizing our brands. No more should we focus on B2B or B2C but consider that all brands should engage on the basis of H2H (human to human).
The way I see it, there are 3 steps to a successful social media brand strategy. First, begin by and tapping into conversations happening about your brand; second, build on those conversations; and finally, convert those conversations into conversions.
Social must really be an ART: Authentic, Responsive, & Timely. Brands that master this art will start to see the true value social can bring to their business, and one such brand is Lenovo. Nazia Hayat from Lenovo talked about the importance of humanizing your brand and treating followers as equals. A lot of the time brands like to thump their fist on their chest, shouting and demanding “we are the leaders, follow us”. What they forget is that, the initial few followers are the true leaders and are key to nurturing and gathering more followers – Derek Sivers explains it beautifully in his Ted Talk, “New followers emulate followers not the leader”. That’s why it is so critical for brands to be part of conversation; not just about their brands but about topics that are related to their brands as well.
This brings me to my second point – the importance of community marketing. Conversations about your brand are taking place whether you like it or not, so why not facilitate it? It’s actually scary how many people are now more likely to make a purchase decision based on a complete stranger’s review! Daren Choo, AVP of Social CRM at Starhub shared that 75% of Singaporeans read people’s comments online before making a purchase decision. Instead of focusing on building followers, brands should focus on building a community; a community of avid fans, advocates and influencers that will help to protect and promote your brand.
Finally, once those conversations have been created, identified, and executed, turn them into conversions. Domino’s Think Oven campaign is a great example of how an innovative social campaign can engage consumers and drive sales. Rose Lam, Marketing Manager, APAC, of Domino’s Pizza explains how Think Oven acts as a virtual suggestion box, allowing the company to engage their audience, listen to their customers, interact with them, and drive sales all at the same time. Reaching out and involving your customers, offers a personal touch that will allow them to relate to your brand on a human level and proves to them that you care.
So remember to listen and join in on the conversation. Make sure you also humanize your brand by creating a brand voice that is authentic. And lastly, don’t be afraid to take risks – as I said before, conversations are happening about your brand whether you like it or not, so why not join in! You could even turn those complainers into advocates just by giving them a little extra loving.