New Frontiers in Social Media

On Thursday, I made my way down to Brighton to talk at an evening seminar ran by use8. It was a combination of talks and a panel, with myself taking part in the panel at the end of the session. Not having prepared too much, much was in response to questions, there’s a lack of things to put up here, but there are 2 key points I included.

A Brand Usage of Social Media

James Temple, an ECD of RG/A gave a lovely little talk about how they have used social media channels and tools to promote their brand campaign. Two key examples from Nokia are the Urbanista Diaries (search for it, they no longer seem to exist) and ViNe, which is basically a life blog form your mobile, which tracks where you are, what you see, what you listen to and all your photos.

  • Campaign Usage: The first, at least, is an example of the use in social media in campaigns, to support a specific time/set of messages. Advertising in general thinks this way and so social media tends to be seen by marketers and agencies as something that can be treated the same way. You just turn the tap on, people talk about you and then you turn it off again. You can do it and it works, but the effect is ephemeral, it is still seen as advertising, so can easily backfire or never be as effective as you want. The ROI on this type of usage is rarely high, as it is treated in the same way as mass media.
  • Customer Service Usage: The second usage is from a customer service point of view. The tools are used to connect with customers, see how they are doing, answer their queries, respond to them and fix their problems. It’s the same as a call centre but instead of waiting for them to come to you, you can be proactive. (When being proactive and solving things can often turn critics into evangelists). This is not short term advertising, it’s long term customer service. It needs not to come out the marketing budget – even though it really is marketing, as is everything that you do that touches a customer. For me, this is the more effective usage. You can still do the first type, sending out information about campaigns, but you will have a far better relationship to start with and more chance of being considered if you are seen to understand the space.

Should a brand use social media?

A second question was asking whether all brands should use social media. The answer has to be no. In order to use the tools and channels successfully, you need to know if your customers are using it, can it add value to your customers and what is the internal culture like – is it ready to have real contact with the people who buy the product, not cushioned by research and focus groups and agencies and other layers. Do your customers WANT TO HEAR from you in that way, are you prepared to LISTEN TO THEM and, most importantly, are you prepared to DO SOMETHING

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