In the past, companies were able to control their brand message. Companies didn't have to be transparent with their customers and, fortunately for them, press campaigns and reputation management were able to help control a brand's image.
However, in today's world, everything has changed.
Marketers no longer control a brand's image. With the advent of social media and digital marketing, the consumer now controls a brand's image, as well as, controls a company's message. All of this is extremely good for the consumer.
So, the only way to "win" and get ahead is to be authentic and truly deliver value to the consumer.
Below are seven ways to get ahead, and win the hearts of consumers in today's consumer-driven world:
1) Be authentic
If a customer had a negative experience with your brand, don't delete it or try to cover it up. Instead, fix it. Be human with all of your interactions.
There is a marketing revolution going on that involves every customer and every marketer. If you ignore it you may see your business follow the direction of Barnes & Noble or Blockbuster. In the past few years consumers have become overloaded with marketing messages. The people you are trying to reach have become experts at shutting you out and making buying decisions without you.
This shift in power to the consumers is forcing winning marketers to change the way they think and act. If you want to win, this year is when you have to change your marketing processes and tools.
Marketers can no longer win with mass segmentation; they need to personalize to each individual’s needs, their psychological triggers, and their stage in the customer life cycle. Marketers can’t win with a single message broadcast through all online and offline channels; their message needs to be relevant and appropriate to the customer’s context, where they are, and what they are doing. This is what the revolution is about.
Pity the Poor Overloaded Consumer
If you own a Business-to-Business company, which means that you either sell products and/or services to other companies, your online content strategy will be different than if you own a different sort of business. Undoubtedly, all businesses need to generate content.
The types of content that you will be generating
A great percentage of the content that you will be generating for your B2B online is general and covers a wide variety of topics. However, you will also have occasion to delve into areas of discussion that are more specific and focus on more details in a particular niche. One thing that is for certain is that the content that you share with other professional people online will enable your target audience to improve their business’s content strategy, which will positively affect their online presence. Whatever your content says, it must be valuable, compelling, educational, and it must, in some way, solve the problems of the person who is taking the time to read it. As you are considering exactly how to structure your online content strategy for your business, you should consider the following questions:
Remember the early days of YouTube and the first viral videos you saw on the platform? Do you remember how amazing you thought that was? That anyone could create a video, upload it to YouTube, and have it be viewed millions of times?
Do you remember thinking things like that?
I’m sure you do.
You know what I did after being amazed at the power of YouTube and viral videos? I recommended to a Client that we upload a video, so it too could achieve stratospheric levels of success online.
But that didn’t happen.
One of the best things about social media is that people are becoming more real, revealing more about themselves. People are showing more courage in putting themselves out there - sure, some guy you went to school with might judge you for sharing your feelings, but there are others with whom your opinions will resonate, and those are the people you really want to connect with. Social media facilitates better connections with likeminded folk, leading to the creation of online communities that foster encouragement, creativity and genuine relationships. It’s really great to see, really heartening to see people who might have felt out of place in the world finding others who feel the same way.
I was reminded of this when Bryan Kramer did a presentation recently where he summed this up perfectly from a business perspective:
It’s a simple, inspiring summary that’s been rightfully praised by many in the industry. It underlines that community spirit, that tangible sense of belonging that people are finding in the social media landscape. Inspiring is the best word for it, and I applaud Bryan for his clarity.
What does this mean for business?
Bryan’s statement really captures the mood around social media and how it should be used by brands. There’s a clear shift away from advertising and selling and a move towards creating genuine connections with people. The emphasis on content is largely due to it being a way to create human connections, an opportunity to present who you are as a company, as opposed to what you do. It’s an exciting time to be involved as the opportunities for creating real, meaningful relationships are there, waiting, and the audience is looking for engagement. You just have to reach out to them, understand them, and, ideally, contribute to their world. The opportunity to take up a place of trust and service has never been better, it’s now up to businesses to take it.
Nowadays customers are completely empowered. They have the power to shape a company’s products, service, etc. completely. Social agents have to be on the frontline ready to connect from any place at any time with a company’s demanding customers.
The importance of providing ready-to-use information has never been bigger. Expectations are extremely high and complaints flood the social channels of companies. The new era of social customer service is upon us, and that means customers don’t just want good customer service, they want excellence!
A recent study, by Simply Measured, unveiled that 99% of brands are on Twitter. Chances are high that your customers, if they haven’t done so in the past, now reach out to your corporate Twitter account. Any industry benefits from establishing an engaging social media presence, and every company can adapt social customer service because it’s the biggest marketing opportunity out there.
Let’s take a closer look at why any company can benefit from social customer service:
- How Socially Engaged Is Your Brand? [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Are you missing out on generating leads with Mobile Marketing? Here's a step by step outline on how to maximize the fastest growing market in the world.
- Social Media for Job Hunting and Networking
- CVS Sets Example for Social Media Strategy
- 6 Social Media Marketing Myths to Avoid
- Why Social Media Writers Are in Demand