How Social Is Your Brand?
If someone asks you if your brand is social, you’ll probably say ‘yes!’ As a brand professional, you know that engaging with customers on social media is really important to get the word out about your business.
In fact, you know that social media is a great way to scale up word of mouth (WOM) recommendations that help your business succeed.
But in the last few years brand experts have discovered that being ‘social’ is a bit more complicated than that. It’s not enough just to tweet about what your company can offer its customers and gather lots of followers, friends or likes.
Contrary to most people’s expectations, research has shown that social media activity is not the same as WOM.
The Secret Behind WOM
Great marketing can trigger WOM, but not as often as you might think.
According to Knowledge Networks (2011) only 20% of WOM conversations are triggered by social media/ marketing, and only 50% of all conversations about brands refer to their media or marketing.
This means people are making WOM recommendations for other reasons.
The most common reasons are that people have had a positive experience of a brand, and that they think that other people they know will find that product or company useful. Sounds obvious when you think about it, doesn’t it?
But how can you use this insight to grow your brand?
The Power of Emotion
WOM recommendations mostly include the positive effect of a company or product on an individual. Each one is a personal story where a company has helped make that customer’s life better.
Typically, there will be a lot of emotion in the story, beginning with negative feelings and ending with positive ones. This is where it gets interesting.
The key to the power of WOM recommendations is the emotion that they contain.
In a social context, the person receiving the recommendation is likely to empathise with the recommender, and hope to experience the same positive emotions when they buy the same product or service.
So one way you can build your brand is to show how ordinary people are positively affected by your business. But how do you do that?
Tell Everyday Stories
If you can tell everyday stories of ordinary people positively experiencing your brand, you’re more likely to connect with your target audience on an emotional level.
If you can do this in an interesting, fun, or relatable way – even better.
Once you tell stories that connect, your posts and tweets are far more likely to get likes and shares.
Be creative in the ways you tell your stories. Start with a situation that your target audience will identify with, and then show how your brand can solve this problem.
Videos that tell a story people can relate to are far more likely to go viral.
But make sure you consider other ways you can communicate with your customers.
If you are a B2B brand, think about commissioning compelling case studies or blogs that you can share in tweets and posts. Those that show a great solution to a common problem will be shared far and wide.
Surprise Your Customers
Another way to activate emotion in your target audience is to surprise them. Try some guerrilla marketing tactics to get your brand noticed in new and unexpected ways.
One smart watch company targeted runners by spray painting images of their watch and branding on the pavement of a popular running route. The New Zealand Rugby World Cup promoted the tournament by organising a flashmob haka in Auckland.
Other companies have boosted their brand by performing random acts of kindness to the general public.
This type of marketing is so effective because people instinctively want to share these experiences with friends and family. If you are surprised, you want to tell others and surprise them as well. This is social media gold.
Walk A Mile In Their Shoes
Sometimes to understand what your target audience needs, you have to walk a mile in their shoes. This means figuring out what really matters to them, and how your brand can help.
A great way to connect with local communities is to sponsor a community event or support a local charity that links to your target audience.
You can donate money, encourage your employees to fundraise, or give away some of your products or services for free.
The experience will help you to understand your customers better, and build a positive relationship that can last for a long time. And it’s likely that your support will be shown all over social media, without you needing to promote it at all.
Are you inspired by these new ways to build your brand? Give them a try today.
The Printed Bag Shop are brand experts, with years of experience helping brands to grow and stand out. To speak to one of our lovely team about printed bags and which is best for you, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 268 7555.