12 Most Engaging Reasons Why Brands Need to Embrace Social Media Now

12 Most Engaging Reasons Why Brands Need to Embrace Social Media Now

Brands are discovering that they can connect with their influencers, advocates and customers in online communities. The successful online communities (some of these are Twitter chats) are attracting sponsors.

However, many brands are still hesitating. They need to realize that by embracing a community now, they can “jump-start” riding the social media wave.

Here are 12 most engaging reasons why brands need to embrace social media now:

1. Communities are known entities, attracting sponsors and advertisers

There are now enough online metrics to validate this. Some online chats are getting above 10 million impressions for their one-hour weekly chat! This is no accident; savvy community leaders approach the chat with a business strategy and well-planned tactics; and guest hosts drawing in the crowd and facilitating ongoing conversations. Planning the chat can assure that the transcript reads as a valuable resource.

2. Community leaders know how to build, grow and maintain their communities

“Collaborate, share, educate and appreciate”. It is the members of the community that continuously help it evolve; collaborating and sharing relevant information, recommending best practices and products, educating each other. The successful chat community leaders attract the best industry guest hosts and combine this with a social media multi channel strategy. The viral aspects of this are well recognized today.

3. Community leaders are industry experts

The best leaders have social media expertise and track records in business and traditional media. Many are ‘serial entrepreneurs’ having started and run several successful companies; or they may still be involved day to day in leading a marketing or branding agency. The leaders understand all sides of social media, integrating the ”old” marketing, public relations with social media, understanding technology and what is most relevant; they know how to use it.

4. Traditional PR and Marketing initiatives are no longer enough

Everything is changing — technology, platforms, and most of all, the audience’s expectations. Ten years ago people saw the Internet as a marketing tactic, but now it’s an indispensable tool for everyday living. Social media has become a mainstream form of communication; rivaling and often surpassing traditional media. For the first time, it is a way for brands to communicate directly with their target audiences. Brands are quickly realizing the value of Social Marketing. Importantly, what hasn’t changed is the need for proven solutions from industry experts.

5. Like never before, brands need to find, engage and interact with their audience

Online communities are where the advocates, the influencers and the end users are. Brands can find out quite directly what their customers are saying about them, what they want and what their ongoing issues are. Conversations are taking place constantly and globally between brands and communities.

6. As communities develop, a brand can move to the forefront

With astute guidance, they can select an appropriate chat and/or community, engage and sponsor. Giving back to your customer base is “good will” for any brand. Chats have communities based on trust, which is key to building relationships. When a brand embraces and sponsors a community it can move light years ahead into the social arena. A two way win.

7. There is an incredible amount of market research

This is being generated from online analytics; the tools already exist for monitoring. Chat questions can be designed to reflect what marketers want to learn from the community. There can be surveys and with follow up via all the social media channels. Q/A continues on Facebook. Building or joining an existing community relevant to the brand, can streamline this research process into a win/win situation, and jumpstart collaboration with already trusted relationships with the established community.

8. Successful communities have already built the trust

The communities understand the interaction with their members. Many chats have knowledgeable, interesting focused individuals often from around the globe. It’s the professional participants, often high profile influencers, that make a community what it is. It is the professional planning, which facilitates maximum impact with the brands. There has to be a powerful community infrastructure behind any successful community or chat. It’s creativity, collaboration and global interaction at the speed of light. It’s a perfect mix of creativity and business strategy.

9. Effective communities are transparent

A brand can follow the advocates,influencers and customers participating in a chat. Social marketing today is about maximizing the technology; integrating social functionality into the online experience. Communities are open to brands that give back by offering educational value to the community in exchange for the exposure. The brand success stories showcase this.

10. Online communities have marketable benefits and opportunities

Participants in a chat are brand influencers and advocates, as well as brand customers. A brand can find an existing trusted community, thus extending it’s PR strategy and brand audience. Twitter chats can link to a brand’s video, their online catalogs, live streaming, blogging. It’s a powerful global marketing tool like never before.

11. It’s not just the chats, but the educational opportunities

An engaging extension of the live chat is the subject specific educational seminars bringing executives, industry participants and businesses together. Audiences want to share experiences, and social media seminars at live events offer valuable real life networking. People want to be inspired and educated, and the corporations promote this.

12. Communities evolve and grow

The best communities are managed with the planning and focus of a successful business. Growing the community website/blogging platform is a valuable part of the PR and marketing equation for any community and its sponsors. Expanding into live (educational) events, sponsors can be involved with the knowledge, information and resource exchange and really be a part of the community. It is the live interaction at events, the community meeting in real life that solidifies relationships, and facilitates increased business and measurable ROI.

Brands need to understand that the evolving chat and online communities is where to find the influencers and advocates for their brand. We are just beginning to surf the wave of “influence marketing.”

Sources: interview with Barbara Segal, President of the PR firm Barbara Segal & Associates and President of Noir Blanc Interiors LLC; Robert E. Kraut Research; List of 500 Twitter Chats

Featured image licensed via edupic.net

CASUDI

http://casudi.esse-group.com/

Caroline Di Diego (CASUDI) is a multi-faceted entrepreneur with two parallel careers. In the one she focuses on Architectural Design solutions and the other (where most of you know her) she helps start ups & early-stage companies, building effective start-up teams, creating workable business models, and bringing new technologies to market. Her business & design partner of 21 years is James Ferris.

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35 comments
TALV58
TALV58

@stacy__garcia Absolutely does. Yet they are slow to realize the importance.

TALV58
TALV58

@casudi An excellent piece and when will brands see it is the ???

typm
typm

@WeBuildItBig @12Most Good information!!

Janice aka JPlovesCOTTON
Janice aka JPlovesCOTTON

Great thoughts here! I think for companies who want to reach across blogging, sponsoring #blogchat holds a lot of potential... lots of other chats to support too! 

dbvickery
dbvickery

Since we are in the social media monitoring space, I definitely appreciate this post Caroline. We definitely help you monitor and measure like what you describe with #5.

 

However, that is only a part of the battle with brand strategy. Brands then need to do "all of the above" regarding engagement, transparency and thought leadership that you describe.

BruceSallan
BruceSallan

Boy, is #4 true and I'd add another reason. It's cheaper to utilize US than ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.!

TedRubin
TedRubin

@lhnelson Thanks for the RT Leisa

liz_marx
liz_marx

Good stuff! MRT @danielnewmanUV 12 Most Engaging Reasons Why Brands Need to Embrace Social Media Now By CASUDI http://t.co/zua28tTR @12Most

janinesimmons
janinesimmons

Thanks for the RT @Hench1, have a great #Friday! #FF

Fred_Sed
Fred_Sed

@JamieCrager @12Most Good info!

electricf6
electricf6

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MarketngTidbits
MarketngTidbits

@casudi - you're welcome. I'm now following you - very nice to make your acquaintance!

Brian Driggs
Brian Driggs

Nicely done, Casudi. 

 

I particularly like #8, dealing with trust. Everything hinges on trust. All this social media mumbo-jumbo has scaled as it has because of the humanity inherent in its design and use. I'd offer those brands which see the greatest returns from digital community do so because they approach things not from the perspective of marketing/hyping a brand, but of personalizing the experience for society. 

 

Nobody cares about brands. We care about people. Period. At the end of the day, brand is a function of why and how we do what we do - communicated by and embodied in the people who represent our organizations.

 

We are all customers. Trust your staff to be themselves in the public domain. If you can't do that, your organization is seriously lacking in the HR department. Treat everyone with whom you interact online in the name of your business as though your business would wither and die without them. Make a difference before you make a profit. There is no escaping the Golden Rule.

CASUDI
CASUDI

Barbara, I have to admit that this post would not have come together so well without your generous sharing of how you built (step by step) a successful chat community for Architects & interior designers.

 

I am a participant and strong advocate for #intdesignerchat and really enjoy being part of it.That's my Architectural Design side. I also appreciate the Social Media side and now your chat is 100 chats old it's so obvious to me why the Brands want to participate so eagerly in your multi-platform offerings. Of course the Brands are especially excited by the educational #Intdesignerchat events being planned twice this year as a mini-event in association with larger prestigious design shows; and where you will draw from the very best participants & presenters.

 

It's an exciting journey to bring social media to the design community. Thanks so much for visiting 12Most and commenting here; you have made my evening. 

BabsSegal
BabsSegal

Thank you Caroline for this opportunity to be interviewed and share why brands need to understand that the evolving chat and online communities are the influencers and advocates for their brand. 

PegFitzpatrick
PegFitzpatrick

@SmashFit Hi Heather! Thanks for sharing today. Hope you are well and all is dandy! <3

amberrisme
amberrisme

@MatthewLiberty @CASUDI @12Most Thanks, Matt!

rebelbrown
rebelbrown

Love this post Caroline!   And you are sio RIGHT ON!   Social media is the Holy Grail marketers have sought for Decades!  We have the opportunity to connect with our diverse audiences,  foster interactive and high value relationships, listen to the needs and feelings of the market - and then respond in kind.  What a Diamond!

 

The problem as I see it is Gravity....so many vendors are still looking at their Brands and their Marketing through status quo goggles - applying yesterday's approaches to this innovative new opportunity.  That's a sure way to fail - and potentially send your social media audiences running! 

 

Marketing, the way we’ve always done it, doesn’t work anymore.

 

Yesterday’s marketing was all about pushing tons of Me, Me, Me chest-thumping claims to our audiences.  We pushed out emails and flyers and newsletters and more.  We sent direct mail and used telemarketing – all focused on telling the world how great we were and spouting product propaganda like there was no tomorrow.

 

Guess what? The way we’ve always done it doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did work. 

 

The reality is that today's buyers can research, compare and select products without our ever knowing they were shopping .  Welcome to the Digitally Empowered Buyer!  We can only be successful when we shift  our thinking and approaches to realize that a) we are no longer the source of information for our buyers  b) we no longer control our brand image and c) we are now operating in a relationship-oriented market (and not a chest thumping me me me market) will we learn to leverage social media in its purest form! 

 

There is good news. With the right positioning stories and interactive communication approaches - focused on engagement vs clicks, we can and will attract prospects and customers to our doors, and keep them coming back. We can build strong customer relationships, if you remember one thing about the Digitally Empowered Buyer....

 

It’s ALL about them. 

 

Love this post and you Caroline - you are brilliant force in my world and we are all lucky to have you !

 

reb

 

 

 

ckwrites2
ckwrites2

Casudi - Our clients recognize that a fundamental shift is taking (has taken?) place in how people research high-ticket enterprise level acquisitions. Marketers no longer control the conversation or the information. Your article succinctly summarizes the reasons and ways that marketers can use groups and communities to continue to interact with prospects and customers. Well done.

Milaspage
Milaspage

Caroline, I really enjoyed this post. When it comes down to it, social media is simply about creating a community online, so that everyone can access your brand, see how you operate, and I love how you have honed in on this through this post. Key word, communities. Social media is actually one of the few tools we can use as larger businesses to connect back with people on a one on one level. Bringing business back to a relationship level, back to a "small town" feel. My favorite of your points, bringing it close to home is the educational factor, I have met so many awesome people via conferences, as soon as I got involved in Social Media, my access to knowledge and development in relation to business strategy was enhanced. Its a competitive advantage to be out there, interacting and learning from consumers, influencers and peers. Anyone ignoring social media is missing out on opportunities!

CASUDI
CASUDI

@TALV58 The "BRANDS" are watching ~ but not sure whether to jump-in an existing community or build their own ~ existing = +cost effective :)

Doratytxp
Doratytxp

@janinesimmons Apple is handing out 1000 iPad 3's for a lovely promotion, go to this profile for details! @freeipad_3

JamieCrager
JamieCrager

Yes it was! :) RT @Fred_Sed @JamieCrager @12Most Good info!

CASUDI
CASUDI

 @Brian Driggs Thanks Brian for following me all the way to #12Most and commenting. I appreciate all your comments; and considering trust is already established in an online community, a Brand can really jump in and embellish the community experience (or the opposite is true). I am sure you have thought long and hard about brand sponsors for your global online "gearhead" community (Gearbox Magazine) and I am sure you have defined the criteria. I've head from other communities they don't want just a sponsor, but a sponsor who will add value. Just like an investment in a Start Up they want smart money. I see this discussion is going to continue, if not here then elsewhere :-)

SmashFit
SmashFit

@PegFitzpatrick You are soo welcome. I owe you a post (if you want :)

CASUDI
CASUDI

 @rebelbrown Thanks Rebel for your "killer comment" here on12Most, and giving us all a greater understanding of the Digitally Empowered Buyers (DEBs), who are the influencers, the advocates and customers who make up the online communities.  I love how you defy gravity in all things.

CASUDI
CASUDI

 @ckwrites2 Glad my article works for you, Chris. You really get it and I love how you are taking "online" measurement expectations into the live event space; in other words your company as I see it, provides the equivalent of "Goggle Analytics"  for IRL events. This will be extremely important and necessary for those integrating strategies embracing both the online communities and Real Life conventions, trade shows, educational seminars etc…...Thanks so much for commenting here on 12Most.

CASUDI
CASUDI

 @Milaspage Thanks Mila, for adding some really relevant "guts" to my bare bones post on a subject that deserves many volumes. Some Brands really get it and have built their own online communities, and others have spotted their customers and are taking advantage of communities already built and are going gang busters. However several of the Brands I have spoken with recently don't feel comfortable in approaching existing online communities and don't see that these really are not that different from what we would identify as "local" communities they are familiar with; they consider the online dimensions intimidating. Some Brands think they can make the connection with one phone call and a trusted relationship can be built immediately.LOL.

TALV58
TALV58

@casudi Good to know. I know it will happen and existing has many advantages vs starting from scratch.

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