Brands are a part of our lives and social networks are where we express our lives online; therefore, it’s logical to conclude that these spaces are hungry for brand conversations. Consider the following facts:
- 19% of young adults have added branded content to their social network profiles and 24% have recently added advertising clips*
- 60% of social media users interact with a company more than once per week*
- 93% of social media users think a company should have social media presence*
- 20% of tweets provide product or brand information**
Why Should You Care?
It was once assumed that there was no room for businesses in social media- that users would become disinterested in social networks if brands barged in, pandering to consumers like they do in other forms of media. While this may be true in some instances, the above statistics are evidence of the extent to which brand conversations are being adopted into social media spaces.
Social media users these days are starving for brand conversations- they want to compare brands and products, they want to share their stories, and they expect brands to be engaging them as well. With this in mind, there are a few things you should remember:
- If social media users aren’t already talking about you, they will be soon!
Social networks have made it easy to generate online buzz about any brand- big or small. If your brand isn’t being talked about yet online, give it time- it will be.
- You’ll need to get comfortable seeing your name online.
When your brand first starts appearing online in conversations, it can be easy to let it distract you. This sort of distraction can also happen if all of the feedback about your brand has been generally positive and all of a sudden you are seeing negative press spreading. Whether the opinions being expressed are positive or negative, keep one thing in mind: that is just a small subset of opinions. Only the most extreme ends of the spectrum are the ones that are going to be talking about you. No one is going to take the time to say something neutral like “Just received my order from Company.com It was fine- just as expected.” Instead, you’re only going to get the absolute best and the worst of customer experiences (sometimes simultaneously). One hour you may see “Company.com fails at life! They can’t do anything right!” and the next you may see “My Company.com order came. Perfect! Best gift I’ve ever bought for myself. These guys are my new favorite shop.” This polarization can be very dangerous if you let it influence your business decisions.
(Now, I will say that if you are finding complaints time after time about a particular product or aspect of your business you should probably investigate how you can correct it appropriately.)
- You should figure out how to insert yourself into online conversations to build your brand image.
Online conversations aren’t off limits to the brands being mentioned, you just have to know how to insert your brand tactfully into the conversation. The approach that you use should be dictated by the social norms of the space where the conversation is taking place. If you are unfamiliar with the platform, don’t just stick your two cents in as if you were writing an email or talking to someone on the phone- do some research to find out what is the most appropriate response.
- You can leverage that content for SEO purposes.
Make sure that if your company is interacting with social media users across various channels that you are integrating all of that work with your marketing for your website. For example, tweet a reply to a follower with a link to an article on your blog that may help them out and in that blog post link back to a category page with a related product that you sell. By building these inbound links you will be boosting your own SEO and also creating a wider web for customers to interact with your brand.
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-Kate Pierce eCommerce Specialist
*Kazakova, Olga. “Managing Relationships on Facebook.com: How Users Monitor Themselves, Others and Brands Online.” <http://www.scribd.com/doc/19025539/Managing-Relationships-on-Facebookcom-How-Users-Monitor-Themselves-Others-and-Brands-Online>. May 2009.
**Spinelle, Jenna and Andrea Messer. “Tweeting is More Than Just Self-Expression.” Penn State Live. <http://live.psu.edu/story/41446>. Sept 10, 2009.