Going social, going forward

Today, Social Media is where the people are. There are a few very good reasons for this.

Lower media costs
Traditional media is costly. At the entry level, to manage the brand well on social media cost relatively much less and can be conducted using the strength of one’s presence and network on social media.
Testing the waters
Social media is a cost effective place and way to test the waters and evaluate how good your product offering is. This process can prove prohibitively expensive in the absence of social media.

More effective targeting

The availability of consumer data because of the technology of social media allows brands to communicate more easily with the right target audience and enables small brands to get more bang for their promotional buck.
Going forward, what can your brand do to make the most of this trend?

Video content
Bandwidth is no longer the problem it used to be a few years back. As a consequence, video – live and recorded – is something consumers have come to expect. As a result, social videos have much more engagement than any other content format. Broadcasting instantly connects with the users as it is authentic in nature and gives a chance to interact with the brand in real-time. This coming year, make it your mission to get on the video brand wagon.

Five brands that use video effectively are Buzzfeed, Adobe, Barclays, IBM, and Hubspot.

Customer Service Bots
By employing chatbots, brands too can reduce response times to queries from customers and also free up customer care representatives. Artificial Intelligence applications like Google Assistant and Siri have proved that Chatbots are not only effective but essential tools to answer frequently asked questions in a decreased timeframe. Chatbots are capable of personalization to a great extent and work 24/7 making them indispensable resources once you start using them. Brands want their customer experience enhanced, and introducing AI is the perfect solution.

Five brands that use social media bots well are National Geographic, Whole Foods, Harper Collings, Marvel, and Duolingo.

Social Messaging
Users seemingly are more focused and engaged on messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and WeChat than social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Millennials want the personal touch, transparency and collaboration that the one-on-one communication allows. These apps provide a faster and easier way for customers to get the assistance they need, rather than being placed on hold or waiting for a returned email. In 2017 and beyond, marketers should anticipate less social networking and more messaging for instant, real-time connection with audiences. Many brands are using messaging apps to communicate one-on-one with customers.

Five brands that are using social messaging superbly are Clarks, Sephora, Hyatt, Taco Bell, and The Washington Post.

More Mobile
The mobile platform has taken the e-commerce industry by storm. Most users consume a major chunk of social media through mobile phones and are also likely to engage more through the platform. In view of this trend, mobile optimization is no longer an option but a necessity for brands. The mobile platform needs to become a priority for social media managers who in turn need to make plans that put mobile first and not just optimize for mobile.

Five brands that are using social messaging beautifully are Lynx, Starbucks, Chapstick, Lionsgate, and HBO.

Social CEOs/Founders

It is no longer rare to see top level executives making their presence felt on Facebook, Twitter and the like. The role of a CEO or founder is now growing to become that of Chief Reputation Officer – a person who not only manages the working of the business but also its image on the outside. When users interact with CEOs/Founders, it gives them a sense of privilege which later turns them into brand advocates. I myself interact with users on Twitter and regularly engage with them.

Five CEO/Founders that use social media brilliantly are Elon Musk, Marc Benioff, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and Tim Cook.