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7 ways In Which Social Media Can Help A Brand Grow
7 ways In Which Social Media Can Help A Brand Grow
By: Rammohan Sundaram

As the head line suggests, I am going to hopefully be able to throw light on how a brand can benefit from social media.

This animal has taken the world by storm and we all know some of the key contributions for its growth. If you ask me, I would sum it up as, “Expression”. Every human being has the right to express and that single aspect has led to this massive explosion where people want to not just stay connected but also express every angle of a human psychology whether it is happiness, sorrow, information sharing, advice, network, do business, find jobs and several such attributes that any brand would want to take notice off and reach out to. Each of this attribute in a consumer has some strong foundation for a brand to target and that is why I feel that the power of this medium is still not gauged by many marketers.

Several marketers have some basic questions they want answered; through various researches that have been conducted to round table discussions that I have been part of marketers want to know this animal better so that they not only could harvest its vast potential but also meet a lot of their business objectives, which otherwise cannot be met in the real world and nor in the digital space. Some of the typical questions brands marketers today ask are as under:

  1. Measurement – what is the metrics we need to follow to know that our investments are rightly addressed?
  2. Engagement mechanisms – what are the various methodologies that are available to ensure that audiences stand engaged with any brand communication?
  3. TG: where and how to I do find this core group specific to my business?
  4. Platforms – Blog, Video, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, Foursquare, Group Buying Sites – how do I integrate my efforts efficiently to commonly address my creative and business objective?
  5. Sales – How do I make this a channel for my products and services?

Broadly this is the kind of typical dilemma that most marketers are in when they remotely even think of Social Media and trust me because they don’t get the requisite answers they don’t try leave alone start believing in it even though they very well know that digital is the future and social media will contribute to 40% of that.

So how do we build brands on social media?

Typically the pyramid by, which one would expect results in this medium or digital broadly, would be as under:

  1. Exposure and reach.
  2. Therefore increase in traffic and maybe leads.
  3. Better output on organic search.
  4. Resulting in new business alliances.
  5. Reduces cost on marketing.
  6. Impact throughput positively.

Building a marketing strategy can get tricky when one is trying to achieve sales and build a brand on social platforms and to me it is something that people shouldn’t involve themselves in simply because there are certain categories that will win and some that won’t. Take a look at what Coke or Starbucks has done in the US market; they have built massive communities that result in long term brand equity. Much before social platforms came into play these brands have created a bunch of attributes that resonate very well to positive feelings of a consumer and coke for one has this great equity with its loyalists over several years, which directly impacts in its sales however it is critical to address their loyalist in the social platform and they have a huge hub on Facebook that enables them to share all their feelings for the brand and helps them feel belonged to their favourite drink.

However, there have been brands with little or no budgets who have done campaigns on the social platform and literally doubled their sales, one such brand that comes to mind is Tipp-Ex, I think this one is the most wonderful examples of how to keep a user engaged and at the same time build loyalty, community, salience, equity and the works that then translate into sales. This entire brand was built through Youtube.

The one that comes to mind in the Indian context is Fashionandyou.com; this entire brand was built through various social platforms and today is one of the largest retail luxury stores online in the country.

So building a brand like coke that has active community on Facebook or for the matter Starbucks is very different to what Tipp-Ex or FnY has done, the latter two have not only built brands online but have also successfully used Social as a channel for sales, which is why I think certain categories work really well in the social space for both brand building and sales. In these categories are also brands whose budgets are just not there to build brand impact that translates to sales, which is where a strong creative idea and it’s Viral effect thereafter keeps the TOM Score high, something we learnt from Tipp-Ex.

I would peg the 7 most aspiring ways to build brand on Social platform as under:

  1. First clearly define what you want to achieve from your social efforts, once that is done focus on creating a strong community
  2. For a community to have an enriching experience update content so that consumers have a reason to come back to your page:

    • ·         This can be done through promotions.
    • ·         Allowing the TG to create. This could be interesting, you could have templates that could create designs, help in formation of a copy and the works thus by involving your consumer to being part of your brand strategy.
    • ·         User generated advertisements.

  3. Have your own Social Site. We all have websites, corporate websites but for brands it is important to have their own social websites apart from having their fan pages on various social media platforms
  4. To have path breaking results you have to have path breaking ideas, so keep it simple and market all the above through various media platforms within the social space that would build continuous loyalty. (Though path breaking ideas are always welcome)
  5. Transparency is highly critical in the social space because it is two and therefore listen to conversations and act urgently, this is the only place where Bad PR can quickly be corrected to ensure strong commitment to consumers. So don’t lie or stay silent or have any hidden stories, just be real and honest!
  6. Build loyalty, this is tough in an ever changing youth audience however try and keep the TG engaged and this can be achieved if you know your data well. It is important to use all tools that are made available like Argyle Social, Twenty Feet, Sysmos, Sales View to name a few on analytics and on the content side tools like Posterous, Storify and Formulists (especially for Twitter) are real agents that help you know the pulse of the consumer through their various behaviors in a social environment.
  7. DO NOT SPAM.

With my little experience in the internet space, I believe the above would definitely help in building solid foundations for brands to capitalize on in the social space.

 

Hope you like this read and is of some help to you in your professional lives.