Thursday, July 15, 2010

Evolving communication channel

The Internet is evolving. Technology is changing the way people communicate and get information. With today's evolution of media, especially on the digital end, marketing and brand management is no longer as simple as just advertising or public relations. Professionals now have to accept social media as a communication channel and there is a big shift from attention to engagement. Brand management today involves not only engaging with influencers, brand advocates and detractors. It means much more today than just setting up an account on Facebook and Twitter.

On a recent Mashable blog: 5 Tips for Managing Your Company’s Brand on the Web
It is important to engage in social media, but even more important to do it right.

In my experience, it is important to have carefully crafted messages that appeal to your supporters, and clearly highlighting the values of the products and services in such a way that it not only appeals to your supporters, it is easy for them to share these messages.

Many successful companies who are in the forefront of social media, like Ford and Starbucks, have already built up such a group of supporters that they essentially have a community that talks about their brands and their products. Having an external validation of your products and services is much more powerful than a large billboard or a front page ad, as more people are likely to respond to it. Furthermore, if you have built up a big enough network of supporters, it will certainly get more exposure.

I also feel that having NEW Content everyday is not as necessary as sharing interesting content that your supporters can relate to. I realized that my cat's success on Facebook and Twitter was because I shared many relevant videos, and entertaining news, coupled with a few "witty kitty" quotes with an attitude. Compared to my twitter and Facebook account where I blog and add new photos and opinions regularly, it was much easier for my cat to find her niche and influence more people.

Social media is also more than just numbers, although many "success matrix" that people understand is usually based on number of fans or followers. Success is also attributed to retweets, likes, shares and various other influence metrics. I have known a few people who have only about 100 friends on Facebook, however, they seem to get much more engagement that most of my other friends with more than 3000 friends on Facebook. Numbers do play a part, however one must not forget that social media is still a lot about engagement and message.

-- Robin Low

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