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Social media has dominated my working life since its inception.
It’s been fascinating to see the evolution of brand communication as it moved away from brands talking at people, towards the creation of a dialogue with customers, fans and followers.
Brands have had great success using social media to start conversations with fans and followers.
However, with the advent of instant social apps, brands now need to find new ways to connect in the moment.
It can be tricky enough for brands to engage people over social media, but what about service providers?
What about the shopping malls, theatres and transport hubs that we use every day?
It wasn’t long ago that pharma brands tended to avoid social media.
The strict regulation of the industry’s advertising communication still acts as a motivator for the industry to be cautious with social content, yet increasing numbers of brands are taking to social media anyway.
Artificial Intelligence has been prominent in tech news recently, and was a hot topic at SXSW.
The technology has massive potential for use in customer communication, yet will it ever be able to completely replace the need for a human element?
Around 15 years ago, forums and blog comment sections were staples of brand-to-fan communication. But the world’s moved on.
While many choose to focus on social media channels, some of the world’s most popular brands still blog as they have spent years attracting readers and building an engaged community.
But how do they manage reader comments to ensure the engaged community doesn’t become a free-for-all?
Today’s teens live and breathe social media, they are constantly connected, use multiple devices and often create content as much as consume it.
They also relate to social media, news and content differently to the more familiar Gen Y market.
Brands that want to reach the Gen Z audience need to change the way they communicate, it’s still a conversation, but it’s also about understanding teenagers, and respecting their opinion and their privacy, their creativity and their need to share.
While we may refer to them as brand advocates, those people who support a brand especially when it’s facing some kind of crisis, are really just passionate fans.
Fans who are willing and able to dedicate their own time to support a brand online, or in person.
The retail industry is going through an interesting time. Shoppers expect a more personalised experience, almost a return to old-fashioned values of the local store.
However, the proliferation of high street chains and supermarkets has made shopping rather more impersonal.
Technology means that can change though.
Scaling a successful social media brand campaign to reach (and be relevant to) millions of people across the world is no mean feat.
A truly international campaign will be relevant across different countries, cultures, languages and timezones.
The campaign might have a great creative idea at its heart, but the structure, process, management and team behind the implementation of that idea are what will define its success.
Here are my top three things to consider when scaling a social media campaign:
Most brands tend to focus on their products and services when they use social media.
People, on the other hand, use social media to build and maintain connections - to chat to friends, family and to other people.
They might visit a branded Facebook page to discover more about that company, or enter a competition occasionally, but if you want them to stick around, there has to be a bigger motivation than seeing how the brand is going to link its product to the latest sporting event.
People want to connect with people, and with stories. This is where the entertainment industry comes into its element.
While it’s true that most brands aren’t going to have the frenzy of interest around them that a major TV show does, there are things that businesses can learn from entertainment brands on social media.
Anonymous apps are the latest craze. But what are they, and why are so many of them popping up?
First, of course, nothing online is guaranteed to be truly anonymous. Clever audience tracking, or just knowing which friend of a friend has the job they’ve talked about hating, means you can often trace content back to the original creator.
But the popularity of apps like Whisper and Secret is precisely because of their surface anonymity (Whisper is reported to have 3.5 bn views a month).
Whisper lets you post short, anonymous, messages, which anyone else using the service can see and reply to, while Secret lets you post anonymous messages to anyone on your mobile’s contact list.