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
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