Is your brand losing its fizzle online? (image via FFFFOUND)
The breakdown: What is social media’s impact on the brand? Where is the line between a positive vs. negative influencer? Do Twitter and Facebook really have a tangible benefit to the corporation’s bottom line? We asked a panel of some of our content and social experts their thoughts on leveraging social media to connect with the consumer.
Robert Stribley, Senior Information Architect
Companies who take social media seriously are reaping tremendous benefits for their brand. Coca-Cola, for instance, recently featured a prominent call to action on their homepage to direct visitors to their Facebook page. Now, they have almost 3.7 million fans on Facebook. So instead of relying on users’ infrequent visits to Cocacola.com to communicate their brand message, now they can expose a huge audience to it with whatever frequency they like.
Michael Barnwell, Content Strategy Lead
Social Media has the tendency to inspire brands to launch an arms race with their consumers. In the event of negative commentary, brands will feel the need to offset that commentary with ever more charm and assurance. Brands secure in their products and services will resist the urge to rapidly fire back and trust the balance of commentary to work in their favor over time.
David Deal, VP of Marketing
It’s a myth that social media puts “consumers in control.” Consumers don’t control anything, and we don’t want to, either. We still want two-way relationships with brands, which means both the consumer and enterprise exert influence. Social media strengthens that relationship by empowering consumers. Smart companies are figuring out that by using social, the brand can be empowered, too.
Abbreviated version of this blog post here.
Shiv Singh, VP & Global Social Media Lead
Brands do not have a place on social platforms. People do.
Matt Geraghty, Content Strategist
Opening social media to help build your brand or reinforce corporate goals is not without its risks. Yet if used in a thoughtful way, there can be enormous benefit to the overall brand impression that traditional marketing could never achieve. Take a recent post by a new Ford customer where he details the experience of reaching out to Ford via Twitter which in turn would lead to a phone call to him from Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally. How many companies are really looking for this type of transparency? Hard to say—but now more than ever is the time for bold experimentation.
Dawn Bovasso, Content Strategist
It’s not social media that creates strong relationships with customers — it’s consistent and direct customer service. Look at Zappos, who was known for their exceptional customer service long before social media came along. Social media has only enhanced the reputation they already had, not created or repaired it. Same for someone like Time Warner Cable, who is notorious here in NYC for terrible customer service; I don’t care how much they Twitter if I have to stay at home all day waiting for them and they don’t show up. Having quick and thoughtful responses to social media is great, but it’s secondary to direct customer service.
Rachel Lovinger, Content Strategy Lead
I hardly ever use social media to connect with brands. On Twitter and Facebook, I mostly follow friends, colleagues, celebrities and organizers of events I like to go to. I don’t really even like getting email from companies I’ve bought stuff from. I guess I’m not the kind of person that likes to be poked by brands online. If I want to know about them, I’ll go to their website.