We're all human: social media and your brand
Social media has irrevocably changed the way brands interact with consumers online. The open, egalitarian nature of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter has given customers a voice and has made companies more accessible than ever. As always, businesses must adapt in order to survive and in the social media age this means altering the way your brand presents itself online - this means humanising your brand and its image in order to successfully manage social media.
In the land of social media, all profiles are equal before the web - haughtiness will not do you any favours here. It is sometimes important to remember that brands are not granted special status on social networks. The general public and particularly your customers have certain rights and it is your brand's responsibility to respect this. This also implies that brands should focus on maintaining a general tone that suggests accessibility, friendliness and equality.
One of the easiest ways to make people feel appreciated and valued is to include them in creative processes and company policy. Social networks offer the ideal space for idea-flow between brands and consumers. Crowd sourcing as it is called, allows for interaction, sparks conversation and helps companies understand what their customer base wants and likes. It's a fun process that involves people on a personal level - once again making your brand seem more like a person and less like a faceless corporation.
Admit when you're wrong
Making the occasional misstep is part of being human. Although mistakes should be avoided wherever possible they are bound to happen to your brand sometime, so be prepared to step up and admit when things go wrong. Customers and the online community in general will respect you more for it, and most importantly it will make your brand seem more human and real.
Be open to debate
Social networks are spaces where debate should not simply be tolerated but encouraged. By being open to debate your brand will be actively reinforcing ideas of openness and fairness in your brand, human qualities that customers are now expecting from brands as well. On the other hand, by shunning debate your brand will seem closed-off and self-important - qualities you don't want your brand to be associated with.
This may seem obvious but many brands do not fully commit to their social media accounts. This results in customers that feel ignored when they attempt to reach out to your brand and also reflects badly on your relevancy in terms of search engine results. A Dormant account sends a message that you're 'too busy' to make an effort or worse yet - that your brand has no interest in its customers and fans. Positive, consistent activity and interaction is a fundamental requirement to keep the social ball rolling.
In the digital age, true human interaction is becoming increasingly scarce. By humanising your brand - giving it a warm personality complete with quirks and flaws - your brand will be more likely to connect with fans and followers on a more positive and personal level.
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Digital Fire is an e-mail marketing specialist and profiled data owner offering state of the art local and international e-mail marketing solutions. We drive sales and revenue, through our targeted high ROI e-mail campaigns, as well as profiling, managing and growing existing customer data, for our clients. Digital Fire is a division of Spencer Boyd Associates Media Consultancy with offices in London and Cape Town.- more....