When Mark Zuckerberg began creating a platform for Harvard students keep in touch in 2004, nobody could expect that he has started a new era of experiencing brands. Never before have brands been so close to the customer. Never before have they had such an opportunity to become a part of their customers’ lives. Why not take advantage of it?
contrary to the common belief, it does not apply solely to the well-known communication platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Social media include every medium where Internet users create content, including YouTube, Snapchat and any kind of blog. Examples are many, but the influence some of them have makes them essential for every company.
The power of social media is used by the biggest brands in the world. Brands publish information about their promotional campaigns and special offers, they inspire their customers, and always remain in touch. The brand does not have to be big to capitalize on presence in the social media. Smaller brands also navigate social media very well and are doing great. A good communication plan, even a tiny marketing budget and – most importantly – the choice of the proper medium, one that will make it easier for the company to reach its end customers, is all it takes.
They followed Zuckerberg
Facebook is the all-time winner of brand activity on the Internet in Poland. This is hardly surprising, as this service currently boasts as many as 14 million active users (1.6 billion in the world) who spend from 30 minutes up to several hours a day browsing Facebook. Zuckerberg’s team keeps working on increasing this time to make Facebook act as a substitute for all other web portals. Even though these are long-term plans, we can all be sure of one thing: for many users, Facebook constitutes the main source of information, including consumer information.
In March 2016, the Global Web Index asked the Internet users what services they use when looking for information about brands and products. Nearly 40% replied they use social media. Then the “Like it or buy it” study conducted by the Polish Chamber of Digital Economy found that no other medium connects the customer with e-commerce companies as tightly as the social media. As many as 86% of respondents declared that “liking” the brand’s fan page on the portal and following it increases the inclination for that company, which positively influences purchase decisions in the future. But how to be “liked”?
Content comes first
Over 2 million pieces of information are published on Facebook every minute. Navigating through this mass is a challenge for every user and an even bigger issue for companies wanting to reach the consumer. Not too long ago, Facebook didn’t make this task any easier. Currently, though the reach of company fan page posts is limited, a new algorithm has shown the brands the right path.
Talk. Discuss. React.
There are many benefits to creating a company account on a social media portal. It should be remembered that this means working with a real, not a virtual, customer, though. The customer’s questions should be answered, doubts explained. A response should be provided whenever the customer interacts with the brand. Interaction is even more crucial when information published by the customer could potentially be harmful. Only when we show interest and eagerness to fix customers’ issues, can the brand gain favour and avoid losing reputation. So be an open brand, stay in touch, talk, and customers will quickly appreciate it.
Marketing Communication Specialist
Facebook decided to wag its finger at brands and show them that only the brands whose activity serves not only themselves, but primarily the portal’s users, will be rewarded. That is why News Feed now shows content that is valuable to the user. What does this mean? Practical information, essential facts, and unique content won against marketing gibberish.
The Wave 8 study shows that the content social media users appreciate the most is content that lets them learn something about the brand, is new, exclusive, inspiring, and shows how to do something. This has provided companies with new possibilities. Now, they can educate their customers and use the published information to confirm they are experts in their lines of business. Knowledge is priceless in making the brand stand out.
But there is more to it than collecting “Likes”. The Facebook barrier still prevents company fan pages from reaching all those who like the page, who actually declared that they wish to receive the content. The reach can, however, be increased when a considerable number of users react to a post. Notifications of this reaction show up on their friends’ News Feed which can lead to a snowball effect if the content meets the expectations of those who are not yet connected with the brand. The question which remains is what kind of content is shared by Internet users? Again, the Wave 8 study comes in handy. The study found that a piece of information has more shares if it lets the users expand their horizons, is funny or in line with someone’s point of view.
When publishing content in social media, two important rules have to be followed. The first one is truth, that is the consistency of the published materials with the image and communication method of the brand. The second one is regularity – only when information is shared on a regular basis, a lasting relationship with the customer can be built and the brand can be remembered.
By: Justyna Kowalczyk