Stop seeing social media as a problem
Posted on Friday, April 27th, 2012 by James Bolle
I overheard a thought provoking comment the other day: “Stop seeing social media as a problem, start seeing it as a solution.”
Up until recently many brands seemed quite unsure about social media and how to approach it. This is understandable, most people have seen or heard about some of the horror stories of social media: a marketing campaign gone sideways, bad employee behaviour caught on YouTube, an executive tantrum gone viral.
It’s this context that makes many brand managers and marketing departments see social media as a problem to be dealt with, rather than an opportunity of which they can take advantage.
That’s a real shame because the upside that social media can bring a brand is tremendous. The oldest adage in business is that people will buy from people they like and trust. Years ago customers were friends and business owners knew every one of them by name. In today’s global marketplace that’s an ideal that is no longer feasible. However even for the largest brands in the world, social media used effectively can help put a human face back onto even the most faceless corporation. It’s a channel in which customers can interact with a brand on a more personal fashion, on their terms. Many of our clients have industry-leading social media strategies, and reap the results in real interactions with their customers every day.
Perhaps the second oldest adage in business is that growth can be driven by leveraging positive word of mouth: one happy customer can tell his or her friends, who in turn can tell friends of theirs.
Clearly the internet and the pervasiveness of social media have put a new spin on that old concept. The average Facebook user these days has over two hundred friends. Twitter now has 175 million registered users. The potential for good news and great exposure for a brand to travel through word of mouth is unprecedented.
It’s not hard to find proof either. Some of the world’s most successful brands are also often the most positively discussed in the world of social media. Starbucks for example is not only a darling of bankers on Wall Street and in Canary Wharf, but also of Facebook fans, being the consumer brand with the highest number of likes. I don’t think it’s too big a leap to say that brand advocacy can make an impact.
Maybe it is time to stop seeing social media as a problem and start seeing it as a solution.
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