Friday, October 12, 2012

Social Media: Putting The Consumer First

Social media has been widely accepted as an effective method in a company’s overall multichannel marketing strategy and the next step is finding creative ways to implement it with traditional methods. The focus in conversation for marketers has now shifted away from “why should we use social media” to  “how can we best use social media.”

Similarly, more and more companies are embracing the fact that on these social platforms, the consumer is in control, and that’s okay. In fact, putting the consumer in control gives many companies the advantage of having passionate brand ambassadors discuss and promote their products for free.

The conversations that occur around businesses now have progressed and need to be focused on the authentic versus non-authentic connections. Another way to think about this kind of marketing is as engagement as opposed to intrusion, building brands around people and taking advantage of the environments that are social by design.

Companies and brands must approach social media marketing strategies from the point of view of the consumer. How will this audience use this brand to describe themselves, and tell the story about themselves and their point of view? 

social media marketing
In order to do this effectively, companies must start planning a campaign by identifying the end experience they want the user to have – which should not simply be to buy the product. What are the connections the user is going to have with the product, and what emotion will make that user tell their friends and family about it in a positive way?

This is a helpful way for companies to determine which campaigns may or may not be successful. Will this effort create a meaningful story for the audience to generate? Will people want to talk about it and share it? If so, the next steps are to work backwards and determine how to develop a plan that will lead the user to that experience.

Of course certain truths remain regardless of the experience – if the campaign isn’t simple enough, people won’t engage with it. Especially at a time when there are so many options for users to choose from. However, it is important for companies to acknowledge that they no longerneed to put the customer at the center of their strategy; the customer is already there.

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