Brand Building and the Impact of Social Media




When asked about brand building strategies, marketers in a recent Forrester survey said that search and social media were neck-and-neck. Search won by a nose thanks to business to business marketers who rated social media lower than business to consumer marketers. But overall, it’s clear that social media is having a big impact.

Digging a little deeper we see that online video is hot with the B2B crowd (who knew) while mobile is the weapon of choice for B2C.

Social media is changing the way we sell everything from accordions to wildebeests, but marketing man can not live by Facebook alone.

Forrester’s “How Social Media Is Changing Brand Building” report points out that there are issues that keep social media from being the be all and end all of marketing. First, scalability. No matter how many Facebook fans you have, you’re still only reaching a small portion of the audience. Second, social media is fragmented. All those tiny bits of information getting passed by RT’s and shares, evolving and changing with every step. It can be easy to lose control of the message. Which brings us to number three: “a social strategy is only as good as the brand strategy behind it.”

We’ve talked before about how much of what we see in social media is spaghetti on a wall. Half of the B2C marketers Forrester surveyed said they weren’t sure how to capitalize on social media for brand building but you can bet that hasn’t stopped them from going all out.

There is no one way to succeed, but we do know that there are two critical points — trust and emotion. Social media campaigns are an excellent way to show your customers that you’re human. Use it to highlight the faces that make your company great, the good works you do for the community and the factors that motivate you to keep on going.

People like to buy from people. All things being equal, they’d rather buy a wildebeest from a family-run business who supports the local Little League team than a faceless corporation known for their environmental faux pas.

The most important line in the Forrester report is this: “social media is necessary but not sufficient for brand building.” Never lose sight of the fact that a good marketing campaign is made of a variety of components that all work together. Use Facebook to promote your YouTube video. Use YouTube to send people to your blog. Use your blog to close the sale.