How Brands Can Leverage the Power of Social Conversations to Drive Sales
For a little more than a year media companies have leveraged the power of social conversations on TV and on their own web sites. If you've paid attention you've probably seen a variety of shows and events display Tweets and/or Facebook posts directly on screen or built into their stage set. These social conversations have allowed those media properties to connect with their viewers, leverage the power of their social networks and create a sense of community - all of which helps drive viewership and engagement.
Now, "brands" (manufacturers and retailers) are beginning to take notice and look for ways to leverage their customers' voices. As the notion of “brand as media” or “brand as content provider” continues to rise, marketing executives are considering the curation of social media as a way to build content and media experiences that are reflective of the brand. We’ve witnessed marketers "experimenting" with a variety of social projects. However, one thing we see most marketers struggling to do is build social experiences into their marketing efforts that amplify social conversations and reflect positively on their brand. Some people call it leveraging "word of mouth marketing" (or word of mouse - given the growth of social platforms and the Internet) or "social content curation." Whatever you call it, the fact is, the need for brands to capture, filter, curate and display real-time social conversations in an engaging and controlled way is growing. (controlled meaning filtering out the "social noise" and getting to meaningful, relevant social comments).
As you think about building rich brand experiences, here are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to determine how your brand can leverage social content curation:
1. Marketing Campaigns - how many marketing/advertising campaigns do you do each year, and how are you activating your customers’ voices for each campaign?
2. Product Launches - how many products or services do you launch each year (whether they are proprietary or through vendor partners,) and where are there opportunities to integrate social?
3. Promotions and Sales - how often does your brand run holiday promotions, weekend sales or other limited-time only events?
4. Sweepstakes and Contests - do you run any type of contests or promotions where your customers could help you spread the word and get involved?
5. Store Openings and Events - do you have any grassroots/local events that your brand participates in?
6. Conversation Starters - how often do you want to create fun, simple conversation starter questions or polls about your brand, products or services?
7. Culture and Community - what stories and conversations do you want to have with your customers about what your brand stands for and how you give back?
Chances are your brand does a lot of these activities. Now, there is just one more question -- how "social" do you want your brand to be? The ability to capture the world's social conversations, filter them and bring to life the best comments about your brand is very real. Marketing is changing, and the brands that realize this change and take advantage of this new opportunity will lead their industries.
Video created by St.Edwards University MBA Capstone team: Britni McCotter, Crystal Porter and Basia Tunkis