Do you know your Facebook carousel from your Snapchat stickers or your Twitter web-click card from your Instagram story boomerang?
In an ever interconnected digital world, an integrated approach to social media and digital communication is something all companies feel that they need, but don’t always know how to approach it.
Are you fed up listening to marketing bullshit? I know I am. After years of sitting in top-level meetings and pitches regarding social media, I often feel like defenestrating myself from the building. The babble of advertising-speak is often bewildering and confusing as if they are talking a foreign language or are from another planet. Often brands and companies are looking for a straightforward approach to solving digital communication problems, yet are bombarded with complicated solutions, which often benefit the advertising agency more than they do the client.
Digital marketing doesn’t have to be this way. There is a simple and straightforward approach to creating great social media, that not only brings your brand or product into the mind of the consumer, but also generates meaningful consideration during the consumer’s path to purchase.
Brands need to start a two-way conversation with the audience, through subjects and topics which most align with their brand ethos and or their product function.
Social media has become a catch-all phrase for digital communication, yet social media is just one of many digital touch-points consumers go through, on their path to purchase. Mostly all “zero moments of truth” start with a search engine and a question. It is defined by Google as the “micro-moment”. It is therefore integral for businesses to be seen to the customer, at the zero moments of truth. It is when the consumer is at the beginning of their journey towards purchase.
Social media allows for brands and companies to have a two-way conversation with their customers and potential customers. The days of a traditional one-way monologue have developed into the open discussion that social media allows. Companies who fail to join in the conversation, and who still just broadcast a one-way message to consumers through social media, are the companies who will not succeed in the future. As consumers become more and more digital savvy and part of the two screen experience, companies must adapt their communication strategies to include meaningful dialogue with consumers. It is where social media steps in.
Audience participation is one of the many aspects of what creates great social media. Including the audience into your communication strategy and content, will bring you closer to your loyal audience, which in return builds a stronger connection with them. Social media has facilitated the growth of brand evangelists, within the younger tech-savvy generations. Influence has swung more towards digital broadcasters than it has from traditional media. It’s time for companies to start harnessing this.
Remember that if a customer is annoyed or has a bad experience of your product, they no longer have to hide this frustration. They can go directly to social media and find the twitter or LinkedIn profile of the CEO of the company and tell them exactly how they think. How many brand managers or marketing managers want their CEO being contacted in such a way? Not many, I’m sure.
What value can your product or brand bring to someone’s life? How can your product or brand contribute to the broader community or conversation surrounding the topics the audience is interested in?
Where I see most brands and companies getting it wrong, is that they are still in the traditional broadcasting mindset of Claude Shannon’s 1948 communication model of message > sender > receiver. This model in the digital age, for specific target audiences, is no longer relevant. Even David Berlo’s 1960 model of direct communication, which expanded on the model by Shannon, can also seem somewhat out of place, in the realm of social media conversation.
Brands need to start a two-way conversation with the audience, through subjects and topics which most align with their brand ethos and or their product function. The message is still important but how they receive this message and on which channels, is no longer such a linear experience. It is multi-channeled across multiple touchpoints that include both traditional forms of advertising as well as the newer digital forms. It is about creating a meaningful mix of all channels and touchpoints, which are most relevant to your brand or product message and the micro-moment in which the audience will receive them.
Companies who fail to join in the conversation, and who still just broadcast a one-way message to consumers through social media, are the companies who will not succeed in the future.
What value can your product or brand bring to someone’s life? How can your product or brand contribute to the broader community or conversation surrounding the topics the audience is interested in? What value can your product bring into people’s lives at all times making the customer feel like the hero of the story? Where many brands are going wrong, is that they still consider themselves to be the hero of the story. You are not the hero of the story. Your customers and potential customers are. Until this is realised you will only succeed in creating mediocre social media, which does little to increase your sales or brand awareness. There is, of course, another way.
Rory Wilmer was a production graphic designer at MerseyTV in Liverpool for BBC and Channel 4 television in the UK. Since 2006 he has been working in the Czech Republic and was previously the Marketing Delivery Manager for The Walt Disney Internet Company, a product beta tester for Google Analytics and Social Bakers, as well as Director of Digital Media at Mustard, leading social media teams for Skoda Auto and Pilsner Urquell in Digital Publishing, Media buying and Data storytelling.