Social media branding is more important now than it ever was before especially since a 2012 Nielson Global Survey revealed that more than half of the respondents said they were more likely to hit the internet to research a brand at least once a week.
According to those stats, which were found in NM Incite’s whitepaper, “Delivering on the Promise, Five Ways to Drive Brand Effectiveness with Social Media,” 53% used social media several times a month to compliment a brand and 49% used social media several times a month to complain about a brand. What does this mean? According to the whitepaper, “companies must be smarter than ever about how they engage with consumers.”
It’s not just consumers who are active in social media, according to the MCM Outlook 2012-13, 76.3% of companies said they used social media as a marketing technique in the past 12 months. Since everyone is now online either promoting or researching a brand, how can you create an effective branding campaign using social media? Here are five tips from the NM Incite whitepaper.
Broaden your scope beyond brands to categories and segments
While it’s important to manage and create positive brand related discussions online, the NM Incite said that marketers should “tap into category level conversations.” Looking into unbranded conversations “reveals unmet needs, provides fodder for new product development and innovation, and helps marketers craft marketing messages that resonate with the authentic voice of the customer.”
The whitepaper also found that while Facebook and Twitter allow for the “lion’s share” of social media messages, blogs and message boards often times contain deeper insights from consumers.
Take segmentation to the next level
According to the whitepaper when using social media to brand “marketers win by developing a more intimate, nuanced understanding of the customer.” Thanks to the internet you can take a deeper look into a smaller audience, “identify each segment’s needs, quantify the market opportunity and determine the right approach for influencing each segment.”
It’s important to also look into segmentation as a business approach, “social media segmentation improves your ability to profile your best customers, determine what and when they are most likely to purchase next, and find others just like them.”
Benchmark yourself relative to ‘expected’ outcomes
Every company out there knows, or at least should know, that defining, measuring and tracking performance metrics when it comes to social media is critical. But the important point is to not “dwell on absolute numbers” such as how many Facebook followers you have, the real question is how many Facebook followers should you have. This way, you can compare your social media analytics after a advertising campaign began to see what is working and what isn’t. After a campaign runs, did your Facebook friends increase? Did you gain more Twitter followers? If not, then it’s time to look at where your advertising or brand campaign went wrong.
Create an emotional taxonomy
Looking into almost every product market out there, it’s easy to see that consumers have an abundance of product choices. That is why “creating emotional engagement between your brands and your consumers have become the key to success.” Marketers can track brand performance along with each emotional dimension using “an emotional taxonomy.”
“The taxonomy enables you to quickly determine where your brand is succeeding or struggling, identify and respond to comparative threats, and differentiates your brand in a crowded product landscape,” according to the whitepaper.
Tie social media to existing tools and processes
Always remember that social media is “an amplifier of other media channels and strategic initiatives.” Always integrate your social media measurement and analysis to the tools you are already using to manage your business. Doing so will allow marketers to “achieve real-time equity tracking and brings immediacy and agility to what has historically bring annual or semi-annual evaluation process.”
“Social media can also be used to refine traditional brand equity studies. It can help marketers rewrite questions using the consumer vernacular, or build out additional emotionally relevant attributes uncovered through social listening,” the whitepaper said.