Social media, when used rightly, can be an apt marketing tool. The sheer ingenuity of it lies in the fact that it is mostly free, helps dissipate time differences, geographical distances and lets you reach out to more people than you normally could.
Unlike traditional forms of communication which used to be largely one-way, social media lends a human face & voice to brands. Today’s smart marketers have understood the importance of social media platforms in creating awareness, engaging with their existing & potential customers, as well as in listening to what customers have to say about their brand.
In fact, managing a brand on social media is pretty much the same as managing any interpersonal relationship. Just like you need to invest time, effort and resources (irrespective of the form) to make a relationship grow, brands need to do the same with their audience. The follower base needs to feel wanted and appreciated, which would in turn, make them your brand ambassadors.
Each and every post on social media by a brand is an opportunity to communicate with its target audience. As much as it is important to know what content is relevant & works with its follower base, it is equally important to be receptive to feedback, be it positive or negative and respond appropriately.
In the aftermath of the earthquake which devastated Nepal, Facebook created a ‘Safety Check’ feature, through which people in and around the affected areas could use the feature to inform their loved ones that they were ‘Safe’. This was a brilliant example of using the brand’s inherent service & strengths to address a large problem, at that particular time.
Many a time, brands have been quick to respond to suggestions from followers, which has helped them gain positive word-of-mouth. I clearly recall the very first activity that we had conducted through Xpress Money’s CSR program – H.O.P.E , which stemmed from a suggestion from one of our fans from Bangladesh to help reduce the suffering of the poor from the biting cold in his country. Acting immediately on this suggestion, we tied-up with one of the leading NGOs in Bangladesh and distributed over 800 blankets to the needy.
Today, brands & even NGOs are using social media platforms to draw attention & garner support for international humanitarian campaigns, to have a long-lasting impact. One of the recent examples that created a worldwide awareness is the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ that went viral on social media. This was a very successful campaign, done to increase awareness about ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). More than 17 million people participated in the campaign by uploading their videos that were viewed by 440 million, approximately 10 billion times. During the six-week period (August through mid-September 2014) The ALS Association received $115 million in donations while creating the much needed awareness about ALS across the globe.
See, that’s what a good, concerted social media campaign can do for you & your brand. Such is the power of social media!
Written by – Mr. Rahul Krishnakumar, Manager – Marketing Communications & CSR