Hello everyone, and welcome to “La Pause Digitale”!
On this blog, we will be thinking and discussing about digital marketing all semester. Today we will make a start by looking at social media, and more specifically at how we can make sure that we share good content online. Indeed, signing up to social media platforms and using them is relatively quick and simple. But using the power conveyed by social media effectively can be much more difficult and challenging. We will therefore review five tips that will help brands and individuals start or improve their presence on social media. But first, let’s quickly refresh our minds on how social media influenced the relationship between brands and their customers.
The new relationship between brands and customers
Before the emergence of Web 2.0 and social media, firms had control over the information received by customers. The communication was one way – from the companies to the customers – and organisations mainly used traditional advertising media (television, radio, newspapers, etc.) or their website to inform customers about their products.
This era is long gone. Today, companies are no longer talking TO customers but WITH them. Social media enables customers to express themselves on the Internet and gives them a tremendous power over the image of any brand. This power can be a fantastic opportunity, as demonstrated by the success of Triangl. The Australian swimwear brand made the decision to entirely replace traditional advertising by social media to communicate about its products.
If most of the time social media turns out to be beneficial for businesses, it can also be a threat. The reputation and image of the brand can be damaged by a negative online presence, caused by negative reviews from previous customers or the misinterpretation of a message posted by the company for instance. After the huge buzz that followed the launch of Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kit, many customers are now complaining on social media about the quality of the products and services of the brand.
Although situations like this happen from time to time, the impact of social media on brand image is generally considered as being positive and it is here to stay! Consequently, businesses should join in and make the most of what social media has to offer. To achieve this objective, having a presence on social media platforms is far from enough. Organisations must use social media to deliver additional value to customers, which can turn out to be more difficult than expected. To overcome this challenge, brands and individuals should start by sharing valuable content.
How to share valuable content on social media
To help organisations create great content online, Kaplan and Haenlein have five tips to be social.
1. Be “all-in”
We mentioned earlier that the particularity of social media is that it has created a two-way communication between brands and customers. Therefore, brands must use it to start a conversation with customers and create stronger, closer relationships with them. And this does not only mean responding to negative comments! Brands should reply to the complaints of customers as well as to positive comments and feedback. It will encourage customers to continue to engage with them online and contribute to the creation of a stronger relationship between them.
Starbucks knows how to engage with its customers. It is very active on its social media platforms and reply to all sorts of comments to ensure customers have the best experience with the brand.
Of course comments are not the only way to be closer to consumers. Doughnut time is well known not only for its delicious doughnuts but also for its strong social media presence. The brand engages with its customers by reposting their own pictures of the brand’s products.
2. Be interesting
In order for brands to interact with their customers online the way Starbucks does, they must first encourage these customers to participate and engage with them. This can only be achieved once they know what their customers are interested in and what they like to see on social media. Then they can post content that satisfies and resonates with their customers.
In addition to regular information about the company and its products, both General Electric and Oreo also post information, photos and videos that are of particular interest to their own customers and followers.
3. Make sure you are ready for it
Using social media can be daunting at first. Although it seems very intuitive for most of us, it actually takes time to learn how to make the most of what each platform has to offer. It also takes time to learn what is good content and what is not. Organisations starting their social media presence must understand that they may not get it right all the time and be ready to apologise.
This is a very good example of an online post that missed the mark. IHOP’s caption “flat but has a GREAT personality” was not well received by their followers who claimed the tweet was offensive and misogynistic. The brand had to apologise.
4. Blend in with your audience
In order to engage with customers online, brands must be perceived as accessible. Consequently, brands should avoid sharing content that is too professional. Moreover, people use social media mainly to catch up with family and friends, to connect with others. The content, including the message and the way the message is transmitted (language, picture etc.), must enable this connection between brands and users. A professional and complex content will prevent the establishment of this connection.
This post by Innocent shows the brand’s ability to be closer to its customers. In addition to being funny, it enables followers to relate to the brand. This post could have easily been tweeted by any one of their customers. We can also notice that this post follows tip number two, as it is highly engaging, enjoyable for followers and Innocent is not using it to promote anything directly related with the company.
5. Be real
One of the reasons customers are turning to social media to get information is because they want the truth. Before purchasing a particular product or service, they look for reviews from previous users because they believe these sources are more reliable than traditional advertising methods. Many websites were created to enable people to share their own experience, such as Trip Advisor or Zomato. As transparency becomes more and more important to customers, companies must behave honestly, including on social media. Lies and misleading posts must be avoided.
Companies should also refrain from posting fake reviews online (either to praise their products or criticise their rivals). The reliability and reputation of the brand will be damaged when the truth will come out (and the company may be sued)!
Obviously, it is impossible to be sure that your posts will not be misunderstood or start a controversy when you share them. But following these tips is a good start to ensure that you are creating and exchanging content that other users will enjoy and resonate with. What you think of these five tips? Do you agree? Do you know any other way to improve the quality of your content online? Let’s start a conversation below! Thank you for reading, and see you next week for another post on digital marketing.