So you think you know social media

The advent of social media has been the biggest challenge facing brands. The shift from offline to online has turned businesses on their heads, and strategies that were once proven effective are now obsolete

Topaz Chan is online editor, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick
Topaz Chan is online editor, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick

It’s no secret that brand-to-consumer communications is no longer what it used to be. The shift from offline to online has turned businesses on their heads, and strategies that were once proven effective are now obsolete.

Arguably, one of the biggest challenges for brands has been the advent of social media. We all know what it is, but do we really know how to use it?

Content

Make it meaningful, make it engaging and make it drive conversations. As an industry veteran I once heard at a conference put it: "In this age of consumer empowerment, make content like playdough, so consumers can continue to mould it and share it".

With more content being created than ever before, the key isn’t to create even more content, but to create better content. Develop stories that are true, easy to understand and shareable.

Data

So you got 50,000 likes. Congratulations.

But what does that mean? What is the value of that to your business? What do you do with that data?

Without the ability to understand data, it’s just a bunch of numbers on a screen. To succeed in making sense of your data is to succeed in understanding your consumers — meaningful data allows you to align social media with your business goals.

Advocacy

Brand advocates are an immensely powerful tool for influencing purchasing decisions – they are passionate, they believe in the brand, and they create and drive prolific content and conversations online, through multiple digital channels. Most importantly, they are trusted by their peers.

Invest in building a community of satisfied and loyal customers (without forgetting that your own employees are some of the best advocates around) and work with them to spread the word about your brand. Take time to develop insider programmes and brand advocacy programmes to influence entire communities that you would not previously have had access to.

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