Social media has changed the way that we connect and engage with brands. The relationship between a brand and its followers is no longer one-sided. Brands now must maintain their authenticity while also giving their audience what they want: engaging content, interaction, and personalised service.
This post will discuss how social media has evolved from being just another marketing channel for brands to an integral part of every company's customer strategy.
Before even gaining a follower, most companies invest a lot of time and money into their brand.
They spend time creating a logo, developing the name of their business, and defining who they are as an organisation. But now, there are social media to take into account. For any company starting on social media, it can be hard to know which branding elements should come first: your social media profile or your company's website.
Social media has made it easier than ever to start branding. Now more than ever, the first thing that a new visitor sees is a brand's Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page. It even gets embedded on their follower feed as soon as they follow the account. This means that everything is happening in real-time.
Next, we have the topic of transparency. Initially, this was challenging for many brands because everything had to be approved by an entire team before being posted online. Now that brands have conversations with their followers, they have to be more diligent than ever about what they say and how they say it.
This is no longer the case; today, most brands have small social media teams to let take over. This means that the tone and personality of a company's brand can change depending on who is taking control of the Instagram or Twitter account. It also allows for faster response times, decreased turnaround time, and higher frequencies of posting.
Social media has made it easier than ever to be transparent.
In the past, it was not uncommon for brands to give their customers only one point of contact: a phone number or email address. If a customer expected more than this, they would either have to log on to their computer and send an email or call into the company's support line. Not only are email interactions more difficult than phone conversations, but the wait times for customer service can also be pretty long.
Social media has changed this dynamic by making it possible for brands to offer several different ways that followers can interact with them: Facebook messages, Facebook live chats, Twitter direct messages, Instagram DM's, and even phone numbers. By giving their audience multiple communication options, brands can make the process easier for all parties involved and increase brand loyalty in return.
Finally, social media has changed advertising as well. Now that brands have customer data available to them, they know exactly which customers to target with ads. These ads can be targeted so narrowly that they only appear in very specific users newsfeeds (i.e., I want to reach dog lovers in the Manchester area between the ages of 25 and 30 who like running, have previously purchased products from brand X, and are interested in personality type Y).
Because of this, advertisements are becoming more targeted and effective. The result is an increase in online ads while traditional advertising channels like TV commercials decrease. Because of the general nature of TV advertising, it does not allow for any customer data or personalisation; this makes it much harder for smaller brands to be successful with their marketing campaigns.
Social media has changed the way brands interact with their followers. As a marketing strategy, it provides several benefits that allow companies to communicate with their customers more effectively and improve brand loyalty in return.
As a marketer, how do you think social media has changed how brands interact with their customers? Let us know in the comments!