I confess, I got my marketing training wheels in a simpler time, when there were fewer choices, less clutter and a company’s brand was king. To exaggerate a bit, in the evolution of advertising it was somewhere between when fire was discovered and when the ubiquitous Nike swoosh and “Just do it” campaign made Nike one of the most coveted brands ever.
Branding was the foundation for many aspects of a consumer business, from driving sales to enticing new customers to keeping old ones. A lot of thought, research and planning went into the process, and when you were done you had a blueprint for moving your client’s business ahead for years to come. Brand development was guided by good instincts coupled with investment in top-notch creative, marketing strategy and planning. It was about making assumptions about the marketplace five years out, anticipating where the consumer was going and helping clients develop new products and services.
Today, with cable, satellite, streaming media and all the many ways to reach consumers, add social media and mobile to the mix and the marketplace becomes even more fractured and confusing. Like, Share, Tweet, recommend, pin, blog, retweet, follow, unfolllow, post…audiences have a lot of power now and the challenge to engage with them can be overwhelming. Rest assured, there is no secret recipe, no perfect cocktail as some would have you believe.
While this is a transformational time, a time for opportunity, companies should not lose sight of the basics: the key to a successful social media platform is still knowing your business and your brand. No matter what size your company is, it is important not to discount the importance of your brand and to carry it through to all areas of your daily business and your interactions with customers, from mobile and social media to the sign on your door!
Larger companies will have different needs than smaller companies, but the process is important to both.
According to the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, the top three benefits of social media marketing are 1) generating more business exposure (according to 89% of marketers); 2) increasing traffic (75%); and 3) providing marketplace insight (69%).
While it takes time and a dedicated effort, social media activity certainly increases your brand value if you do it right. But the “social-sphere” is also fickle, and can easily turn against you in an instant. Ready to get your feet wet? Don’t be afraid to reach out to experts for help.