Sunday, October 24, 2010

Let's go social

In my line of business i hear so many times from companies the words "we need to go social". But what does this mean? Just having a Facebook page or a Facebook icon on the website is only the minimum.
Social is much more it is a philosophy or methodology. Going social is changing a company.
Before we start to think about social we need to know what social or social network is and what impact it will have in a company.
Social for marketer is marketing 3.0. Marketing expert Philip Kotler and his colleagues Hermawan Kartajaya and Iwan Setiawan have identified Marketing 3.0 as a holistic approach to customers as multidimensional, values-driven people, even as potential collaborators.
Marketing 3.0-treats customers not as mere consumers but as the complex, multi-dimensional human beings that they are. Customers, in turn, are choosing companies and products that satisfy deeper needs for participation, creativity, community, and idealism.

Going social is to engage the consumer, to build trust and then get the consumer to be an advocate of the brand.

Social networks like Twitter can help to engage the consumer, give them a place where they can talk and discuss the brand, even allow them to complain. Companies should listen to tweets and react on positive as well negative tweets. Important is not to deny negative tweets. Companies can use them to get give another view or to admit mistakes.
Facebook is a a great place to build trust with the consumer. Brands need to have a fan page and need constantly post to page, have a team or a person dedicated facebook to talk about news, to read post entries and to start discussions or participate in discussions. The consumer need to feel that they are a part of the brand, that they are important, each single fan.
Don't try to sell your products on facebook, but offer special deals through Facebook which only Facebook fans can get. This builds trust and friendship. Facebook is a perfect vehicle to communicate with your consumer better than everywhere else.

Blogs are another perfect tool to get your customer informed and to build trust. As a brand you should let everybody in the company allow to blog. Don't try to run the blog through QA or only the marketing department. If everybody can blog, your company will see an interesting phenomena. You will read a lot of good things about your company. Your employees will most likely only blog positive because of fear to get trouble.
Your customer will read how great your company is and that it does not matter which position the employee has, they love their job.
There will be as well blogs about new products and how long it took till the final product was ready and how many times it failed before it worked.
Your customer will love this, they will admire your company, they want to be a part of it.

Engage your customers by asking them what they want to see next with your product. Listen to them and let them know you do. Implement their ideas and let everybody know you did.
Starbucks has since a few years their consumer idea website ( Many new products are coming from their costumers.

When we as a company understand what Social means (engage, get trust, be a part) then we can start to build our social concept.

A few companies like Starbucks (consumer ideas) Burger King (sacrifice your friends), Zappos (twitter) and IBM (company blogs) are good examples how social can help to change the brand. All of them went through losing customers but turned it around with marketing 3.0

Bottom line is that this is a cultural change in the company and the social networks are only vehicles to practice the change.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad.
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