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Social Media & Building a Brand: Pitfalls and Possibilities

 

 

Facebook’s Q3 2021 earnings call opened with an interesting statistic–3.8 Billion users are using at least one of Facebook’s applications (the big three being Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp). That’s 49% of the total population of the planet. TikTok, as of September 2021, hit one billion monthly active users, while Youtube cites 2.3 billion active monthly users, with hundreds of billions of hours of watch time year after year.  Safe to say that no matter what kind of business or service you’re looking to promote–social media needs to be the center stage in your strategy for building your brand, growing your community, and turning your customers into brand ambassadors and advocates.

 

Social media is the new town square where users get their news, entertainment, politics, and gossip. These very public forums provide enormous advantages to the savvy entrepreneur looking to build buzz about a product or service; they also open up brands and businesses to risk as the same public forum used to create a brand can be used to burn it down. Brand Trust is on the rise–customers are pickier than ever. Businesses with untruthful, manipulative, or unethical brands are quickly identified by customers and often called out publicly for their shortcomings. Usually, how brands handle this type of feedback can be a crucial indicator of the health of that brand’s social media strategy. Engaging with customers on social media with a consistent brand voice is a significant first step towards building a positive brand community, but it can spiral out of control quickly. Whole forums exist dedicated to companies ruining these social media interactions. Your customers want to trust the people they are doing business with—full stop. Consumers want to be empathized with, and they want their Brands to value what they value and to operate ethically, equitably, and with a positive impact on society.

 

Customers, particularly the newest generations of customers: Gen Z and Millennials, want to be treated with dignity and engage with the brands they shop with–Social Media is often an excellent forum for consumers and companies to dialogue. Still, it also provides a platform for customers to interact with each other, opening enormous possibilities for community building or disaster. Customers will be aware of how brands respond to critical issues—bad reviews, misaligned interactions, or negative societal impact can all affect a brand’s reputation.

 

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer Special Report, 81% of consumers reported, “I must be able to trust the brand to do what is right.” Survey results list brand trust as one of the top buying considerations besides value, quality, convenience, and above items like reviews, reputation, company values, and environmental impact. Social media is the perfect space to talk the talk & walk the walk. Using the platforms, companies, and brands can engage with their customers, solve issues, address misinformation, bad reviews, or negative news, and receive feedback all in a public way. Your customers are paying attention to these interactions, and the very last thing you want is ending up on some Reddit posting highlighting a less-than-stellar interaction your business is having with a customer. By facing these public risks head-on, openly, honestly, and by treating your customers with respect and value, you begin the process of turning customers into advocates for your brand.

 

Of course, the massive downside to all of this is the amount of time that Social Media efforts can take. Companies cannot drive engagement without regular, consistent content on their platforms of choice. Not only does the content generation need to churn regularly, but that content needs to be supported by a (hopefully) human who can continually monitor engagement on those posts. It’s a full-time job or the perfect opportunity to bring on some outside help. Prophase has packages and individual services that can meet any business’s social media engagement needs, large or small. We can work together to establish your brand voice, generate exciting and meaningful content for your customers, and engage with those customers to build a community of advocates around your brand.