By Susie Dagastino
Dominating the market and becoming “category captain” is not an easily attainable goal but brands are starting to use social media to become synonymous within their classifications. Brands can secure their share of voice by growing a loyal base of consumers, including professional bloggers, on social forums that are rapidly growing opportunities for shopper media.
Utilizing social media effectively can result in a brand becoming what Red Bull is to energy drinks and what Starbucks is to coffee. These brands have transitioned from selling a product into creating a lifestyle choice. With social media expanding at an insurmountable speed, staying active in these forums is an essential way to create loyalty out of the millions of people already on social networking sites.
According to research from the Director of Marketing at Concordia University, building a relationship with a consumer and the brand, other consumers, and products establishes brand trust, which leads to brand loyalty. Engagement on social media sites that stems from brand loyalty is 40% likely to result in a purchase, as explained by VisionCritical.
Modeling after Mavens
Red Bull has almost 40 million likes on Facebook, over a million followers on Twitter and 800k followers on Instagram. Their presence alone would not be as successful if they did not cater to their audience. The posts they feature across all social channels spotlight exhilarating activities such as extreme sports to provide content that their target audience would be engaged in.
The impact in Red Bull’s presence on social media is that they engage in little direct promotion through these sites. A post may show a DMX rider in mid-air with a Red Bull helmet or a skateboarder grinding on half pipe with a Red Bull poster plastered on it; however, that is the most exposure a viewer will see to the actual brand. Eliminating direct relation with the brand allows the company to focus on the lifestyle of their consumers. Content that they generate is conducive to the content their target audience wants to see.
Catering to Consumers
Starbucks has also eliminated over-spamming their followers by using social media to highlight their products in an organic atmosphere. Most of the posts consist of coffee or tea in trendy mugs with peaceful backgrounds. While the brand isn’t always linked to the picture, they manage to correlate to product familiarity. Coffee equals Starbucks. With 35 million likes on Facebook, 4 million followers on Twitter and almost 1.5 million followers on Instagram, and almost 95k followers on Pinterest, Starbucks is using social media to reach out to their consumers.
However, Starbucks approaches social media with sensitivity. In the month of July, the coffeehouse published approximately 20 Facebook posts, 31 tweets, 13 Instagram posts, and 16 pins on Pinterest. Yet, still with the relatively low number of posts, followers are still engaging in high numbers. Facebook posts are likely to have hundreds of comments, several thousand shares, and even tens of thousand likes. The differentiation factor is that Starbucks interacts with its consumers and creates a conversation.
Networking in your Niche
Brands must find this balance of producing quality content that will speak to their consumers at a rate that will not appear to be spam in order to replicate a model that will ensure high engagement and brand loyalty. This requires a high understanding of the target audience, engaging in conversation with consumers, and the forum in which the content will be posted. This cohesive strategy in building social media platforms will help to create a relationship with consumers and build brand loyalty
By researching target audiences, a brand should determine which platforms are most used by their consumers and the type of content that they produce and consume on these sites. Find ways to help your consumer in everyday life. Would an easy share app help your consumers get your product out? Do target consumers interact with your brand on mobile devices or computers? What other brands are using social to access your potential consumers?
Social media offers a path that relates to consumers that brands could never attain with traditional promotions. Take advantage of social platforms to create a dynamic between the brand and its consumers. These relationships can be involving, enlightening, and heavily engaged in interactions.
It is constantly evolving and staying ahead of competitors will increase your share of voice and allow you to reach a new wave of consumers.