Social media’s a funny thing. Ten years ago it didn’t exist, and now people make extremely decent livings off of it. It’s great for socializing between friends as well as socializing between brands and their customers (or potential customers). Social being the key word.
I was asked to help with a small marketing project (yay for more experience!) dealing heavily with social media. Which got me to thinking… if I were not a marketing student would I know what I all know about social media? In my previous internships and marketing classes, I have been mostly surrounded by people who can navigate their way through Tweets and Facebook status updates, as well as know that Foursquare is not just a playground game. But does the population separated from the inner workings of the marketing industry realize all of the tactics their favorite brands are using to gain their attention?
Successful brands use a combination of the social media platforms that best suit their needs. Some ill-advised companies have jumped on the social media bandwagon just a little too hard… and their message and presence on certain platforms is vague and confusing. I just don’t quite understand sometimes… maybe I’m missing something.
The world of social media can be quite confusing for some people, take my grandparents for example. They have a Facebook account. My grandma didn’t realize posting on a wall was public domain, and almost (luckily did not) spilled the beans on my aunt’s surprise birthday party. Brands can make similar mistakes if not fully prepared. Brand presence on social media must be thoughtfully planned out in advance, and yet seem effortless. Creating a dialogue with your fans or followers is what you want, building a relationship with them. The message must be clear and concise, as well as be well suited and entertaining for the desired audience.
Even with learning and growing up surrounded by social media, I get lost sometimes. There are certain platforms that I do not use because I do not see the personal necessity in it. However, I do see value in a majority of them for certain situations. Finding the perfect mix between the platforms, having a congruent message throughout and maintaining their presence successfully is what each brand needs.
Although I believe brands should not enter into all social media at once just to be there, they also cannot show up too late in the game. Choosing the perfect mix and earning their space there will keep their customers engaged and entertained.