Use Social Media to Cultivate Conversations and Build Relationships That Benefit the Community First, Brand Second.
We have all witnessed the ups and downs of social media over the last few years. Aboard this rollercoaster (with hands and arms securely within the ride), we as marketers try to find the right fit. We balance all the insights, data, engagement rates to determine what’s right for our brands from the rising investments in social to the added platforms we choose to own and explore to the frequency in which we post and promotion and the purpose and conversion of those efforts. All of this plus the ever-changing platforms themselves sometimes sends us in a spiral!
Think about it.
Just a few short years ago, brands of all sizes misdirected their focus on how to dominate the social ecosystem –
- Who was making the biggest splash, owning something truly disruptive
- Attempting to “bottle the magic” and orchestrate something that could spread and fuel virality for the brand
While these moments still happen from time to time, how they happen has changed.
Instead of being produced and pushed by the brands (or the creative agencies behind them), they are cultivated, nurtured, sparked and verified by the users/communities/fans/followers. So yes, once again, the requirements to ride along on our favorite social platforms continue to shift and evolve. This welcomes a much-needed pivot in social strategic approaches, making it a true two-way dialogue. It is time for brands to post less and talk more to strive for real and authentic interactions with their audience. Social media is a brands best chance at humanizing itself and this leads to smart, approachable and, oftentimes, humorous or unmistakably relevant voices in the social space.
What’s best for the audience?
Brands need to commit to ‘audience-first on social.’ First embracing the functionality of the platform, how their audiences use those platforms, and what place their brand has in the lives of those audiences, if any. Brands must get uncomfortable (just a little) and move away from what’s best for them and instead dedicate their efforts to what’s best for their audiences. To the audience itself, these actions are noticeable, welcomed, and memorable. So much so that if it resonates with the audience, THEY feel personally invested to share it, talk about it, take action on it. And now you’ve got something.
In walks Taco Bell and Wendy’s. Sitting in car #1 on the climb up the coaster, they harness the power of their audiences and bottle magic naturally and organically. How? Because they listen, hear, communicate and adapt in real-time to make a social connection that’s rich, authentic and impactful to their very dedicated and growing communities. They have a social brand persona. They know who they are, they know who their audiences are, and they stay true to it. They lead the charge in the age of humanizing social and digital chatter to better connect with consumers in real time both purposefully and in some cases, sarcastically.
You don’t have to be in the fast food industry to make this happen. With any brand, take a moment to reassess how to bring the character (and flaws) of your brands to life. Because in a crowded digital ecosystem — these types of brands win — every time.
As we all continue on this never-ending thrill ride is for brands to work towards posting less and talking more. That means it’s time to place bigger bets on fewer pieces of content. And that content should be inspired and driven by the needs/concerns/interests of the community, not the latest marketing messaging matrix sent down the line through the external communications teams.
Better understanding this fact leads brands to explore more creative ways to socialize with their audience so they push and post less and instead, talk more.
As brands approach the next turn, climb or dive while riding the social media rollercoaster, consumers and organic conversations will continue to be at the forefront on all platforms. Brands executing strategically created content curated from those embracing their channels will stand out among competitors and ensure their community feels connected to the brand overall.
So, the next time you’re about to click publish or schedule, think to yourself – what conversations can this start? And then, buckle up and see what you can learn for the next ride.