Service: The Key to Social Media Brand Building

“You have part of my attention. You have the minimum amount.”

That line came from the Hollywood movie The Social Network and gave credence to the view that the old interruption model of brand communication doesn’t work anymore.

And by that I mean advertising.

Customer Loyalty - The Social Network

Check the stats. The average consumer is exposed to a minimum of 3,500 marketing messages in a day and 99% of these ads fail to have any impact.

It’s marketing overload and marketing clutter. Consumers’ brains are now programmed to screen out – not screen in – messages. It’s a nightmare if you still continue to cling to ‘high decibel’ marketing techniques.

Old style media owners got fat by selling mass audiences to advertisers. They were able to aggregate millions of people into one place and blast them with commercial messages. That model is now broken as there’s a fragmentation of media channels and consequently a fragmentation of audiences, so the concept of mass media doesn’t really exist.

Social is where the action is.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon once said “Advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product or service.” OK, it sounds a bit black and white and I wouldn’t necessarily agree that all advertising is a waste of money. But I guess what Jeff Bezos was on about was today we have an opportunity to tailor the message and create value for the individual consumer. The ‘market segment of one’ is here.

Amazon is master of the art of segmentation. It knows what you and your friends care about, what you’re looking for, what purchases you’ve made recently and as a result it’s much smarter about filtering out stuff that you’re unlikely to care about or be interested in purchasing.

Amazon understands we haven’t got long attention spans and are merciless if we land on a page that doesn’t deliver what we’re looking for. This is the age of connectedness and Amazon’s sales and marketing strategy is to create content, suggestions and recommendations that people want to share.

Nike has taken this one step further and developed NikeiD Studios that help people configure their ideal product. It’s been incredibly influential in moving marketing thinking in the area of collaborating for profit, a theme in my latest book, The Art of Influencing and Selling.

Today brand building is through serving, not interrupting.

The new game in town is to create multiple-connections with consumers and earn their loyalty by serving them. The better the service, the stronger the loyalty. And the greater the profitability.

The lessons we can learn as marketers is that innovative brand owners like Amazon, Nike, Converse, Red Bull, Disney and Burberry can have scale and reach by delivering products that are of specific interest and relevance to particular customer segments.

And these brand owners are expert at using social channels like Facebook to reach these consumers by filtering messages on the basis of age, gender, location and interests.

The strategy at Guru in a Bottle is to build a higher ‘Like’ count – we’ve only just started out – so we attract fans so we can sell more sales, marketing and law books.

It’s just like a consumer raising their hand and giving us permission to keep in touch.

It sometimes takes the form of ‘sponsored stories’ or announcements that appear within a person’s news feed, among other new updates from friends, rather than pure advertising.

Brand owners benefit from two unique aspects of social.

The first is that the customer has self-selected to be an advocate for a particular brand so they’ll be more likely to engage in conversations and share stories with friends in their social group.

And the second is that brand owners can reach desired customer segments based on an individual’s personal preferences.

In summary, these are my five hot social media brand building tips:

#1: Ditch the ‘pushy display ad’ approach and instead look for meaningful connections with those who you really want to serve.

#2: Create interesting content, share points of view, listen. And listen some more.

#3: Focus on creating frame and familiarity in the hearts and minds of your desired customer segments.

#4: Use digital tools to provide relevant, accessible customer benefits that traditional analogue media can’t reach.

#5: Measure the stuff that matters, such as consumer connections, brand equity, shareholder value and sales.

Ardi Kolah - The Art of Influencing and SellingArdi Kolah is author of The Art of Influencing and Selling published by Kogan Page. Order your copy today and get a 30% discount by adding the code VOCUS30 on check-out.

Image: newscred (Creative Commons)

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