Curiosity has more than peaked, at this point social media is gaining mainstream traction. The benefits of social media for marketing and internal communication is a challenge and an opportunity for brands of all sizes. The value is most definitely there, while the concerns are both valid and understandable. Make the investment to explore the full spectrum of benefits that social can provide a brand before you let the potential pass you by.
One of the difficulties with social media is that it is still considered new, while most people today have heard about social and might even be able to name more than one network, yet it is still not fully accepted. Acceptance takes time, the beauty and the curse of social media lies in its unknown and sometime uncontrollable nature. Most companies would sign-up in a heartbeat for a positive video of their brand to go viral, of course no one really knows what it takes to go viral. Thus, the challenge with social is that control is no longer in the hands of the brand but rather in the hands of the customers and the consumers of media.
So while we cannot control how popular our content is, a brand can control their media distribution through their social networks. The idea of controlled media involves a brand maintaining the control of when they send a message. Unlike paid media where you have to rent air-time or buy media placement with controlled media you can flip the switch and go live whenever you want to. One of the ways to do this is by building up a network, first. It is for this reason that brands need to invest the time and the resources to build a network and who better to start with then your own employees?
Social Media helps to bring the world closer through better communication.
Why should you spend time building a network of your employees? Granted, your employees are not your customers but they most definitely know your brand better than most people. Through the power of multiplicity you will be able to branch out and start spreading and sharing all that great content you are going to create to market your brand. You are creating content, right? Well guess who can help create that branded content? That’s right, your employees. By contributing blog posts with insights or by providing better customer service a social brand is a brand that learns how to communicate better. Brands that communicate better internally also understand how to communicate outwardly more effectively. The power of the brand lies within the individuals who work with the brand everyday. The communication age is about the gathering and sharing of information.
The more involved your employees are the more humanizing your brand becomes. Why is humanizing a brand so important? The more real and human your brand acts the more approachable you become to your audience. A humanized brand is a customer centric brand. By engaging your employees to become sharers and spreaders of content the more connected they can become to both the brand and to the consumer. Why is this important and what does this have to do with social media?
Social Media should be credited for the cultural shift of openness and sharing. The more open and honest a brand is, the more comfortable the consumer feels with that product or service. Never before have consumers had the opportunity to talk directly with brands. Now, consumers expect a response. Consumers want more information, they want to know who is behind the brand, the voice and the pulse of the organization. The time is now to humanize your brand.
I don’t know about you, but when I learn a person’s name or meet someone I automatically feel closer to that person. It is a natural response to feel closer to someone after a simple communication such as sharing information. I completely understand the fears and the concerns that come with an open and active brand. Not ever brand is ready for it, but ever brand owes it to themselves to take the time to discover the possibilities. Creating a social brand takes planning, it take understanding and it takes acceptance. The value is there, the opportunity is there and yes, so too are the challenges.
Brands and consumers have never before had a better medium available to foster conversation and to build true relationships. The future of communication is social media, both with employees and with your audience.
The benefits are there for the taking. Is your brand ready?