In a recent webinar hosted by Hootsuite’s Ben Watson and Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella, there was heavy emphasis placed on the disparity between the how/why brands are using social versus how/why consumers are using it. Companies are engaging on social with the purpose of creating brand awareness, engaging their existing customers, driving traffic to other marketing properties and growing channel numbers. Meanwhile, customers are engaging with brands on social for entirely different reasons: customer support, connecting to similar people, identifying with the brand, receiving advice/peer reviews and receiving info on coupons or discounts.
Yes, social media is an essential touch point in today’s consumer decision journey and affects every stage in a very unique and special way. However, the brand approach must reflect the needs of today’s social consumer. A strong online community of brand ambassadors is the result of great social media management. The elements must include storytelling, quality digital assets, great conversations and a strong sense of community built for all 3 types of consumer: past, present and prospective clients.
Below, I propose my 5 C’s of Social:
Connection – This goes far beyond simply forming a social network and broadcasting key messaging. Connecting is all about meeting people on the level they’re at, in platforms they are using, at times that suit them, with information that is relevant to them. Maybe that means being present on social in evenings or weekends, or maybe that just means you have to drop the corporate jargon and post like a human.
Community – Crowds want something, communities want to be part of something. Having a social media community is not just about the numbers. Community is about nurturing a sustainable and engaged group of people by sparking conversations and adding value to their experience with your brand by sharing relevant information, stories that matter to them and the opportunity to connect with other community members. Brand awareness is a result of a strong online community, not the purpose of it.
Content – Quality content is king. Whether it’s proprietary videos and photos created by the brand or curated content from other sources, you need to spark the conversation with passion. Not everything is going to go viral, but if done right, it will do what it’s supposed to do: win over one brand ambassador at a time.
Consumer-Centric Storytelling – Narrative is at the heart social and in order to humanize your brand, you need to tell stories your audience can identify with. Stories that tug at the heart strings or make people smile. Stories that put a face to the corporate name. And, stories that the everyday Joe can relate to. Having a strong storytelling strategy, with quality digital assets is the key to showing your core values in a meaningful way. And the best part of all is that today’s social advertising provides the perfect opportunity for content amplification.
Conversations – Anyone in a long-term relationship will tell you that the key to a success is communication. Fostering quality conversations through social media is the key to a lasting community. Whether it’s asking questions, answering them in a customer service capacity, or simply allowing conversations to unfold amongst community members, your role is to facilitate and create conversations in an authentic and dynamic manor. When you build an authentic and genuine relationship with your community when things are going well, it’s much more likely that they will be forgiving should a crisis or issues management situation arise.
How are you using the 5 C’s of Social Media Marketing? Write your comments below!