Monday, August 3, 2009

My 2 never fail tricks for social media

If we’ve learned anything in the last couple of years in this new social media driven world, it’s that the consumer ALWAYS comes first. Regardless.
This means that for any campaign that’s about to activate, the thinking needs to back the consumer. Think about their experience from their perspective, whether your objective is to inform, educate, help or entertain.

So recently, I’ve adhered to 2 rules that every activation must stand by. “Keeping it Real™” and “Happy Families™”.

Keeping it Real™
This is no secret. When brands enter into a social media space, they must be completely transparent.
But the real secret is -if you are the voice of the brand, be yourself as the brand representative. That other thing that everyone keeps saying “find your tone, your POV”- this is BS. You become a robot and what’s the point? Instead, I say, be conscious that you’re the brand ambassador, but be honest with your individuality and let your own personality come out.

Individuals know that this “voice of the brand” is an actual person who has taken on the mantle. When it’s a “human” on the other end and not an apparent robot, people will understand if you can’t get information immediately, or if you don’t work on the weekend. All you have to do is manage the relationships, just like you manage your client.

This “voice of the brand” mantle can even rotate among different representatives. As long as you announce it and continue to manage the relationship with your audience. People will most probably welcome someone new- it’s fresh and gives you “new news” to announce if your brand is starved of anything exciting to tell. It’s essentially that personality makeover that you’ve probably always wanted for yourself.

Happy Families™.
This is the crowning glory, but VERY difficult to pull off.
Today- consumers lead the way. In relationship building, in connecting, in sharing. They essentially come together to help themselves. This is where all the good social media stuff has come from- by following this example.

So, if consumers are leading the way and showing corporations how to behave, this means corporations must take themselves to this next level as well. The key behavior is how consumers band together for the benefit of the larger community. Companies must copy. They need to get together to create solutions (media, social or otherwise) that their consumers will respond to. It may be a small sacrifice to the bottom line, but in the long run more consumers will flock because it appears company in question “gets” their consumers and you earn yourself a stellar brand reputation. This equates to absolute brand love.

Whenever we have Happy Families, things work. The level of uptake and the level of positive response is immense.

Take Mentos/Diet Coke equation, or Sony saying it’s fine for it’s fine for it’s fine for that wedding to use their Chris Brown song.
H-A-P-P-Y F-A-M-I-L-I-E-S.

Through my own recent experiences with various platforms and the recent news of Apple v Google- brands fighting creates shit experiences for consumers. Consumers lose as a result- they don’t get a feature or a tool which would fulfill some entertainment/information utility need. In this case, Apple, the rejector, looks bad and Google experiences a halo affect because it appears they wants to make Happy Families so that all consumers can be filled with glee.

The lesson here- letting go of a small portion of control enables your brand or your message to spread further. It’s very difficult because most companies want to hold on to the reins so tight that they end up cutting themselves off from the real world and prevent themselves from creating stronger more tangible connections. But if brands can get together to create more useful solutions, what's the harm?

We know sharing is caring, it’s not new news, but somehow news to companies