I’m very confused by brands that think “doing social media” means creating a content calendar with regular Facebook posts at the same time, every day, “engaging” with their fans things with posts like “what’s your favorite color?” or “share this picture of a Coke with all of your friends.” I’m sorry, but that’s desperate and ridiculous. If one of your friends posted that and you saw it in your newsfeed, honestly tell me you wouldn’t at least consider unfriending them.
Social is a way of life, it’s a culture. If you’re going to be a social brand, be a social brand. Be authentic. Have a personality. Be accountable. Make mistakes. Be real. Take risks. Be relatable. Be relevant. Be interesting.
There have been thousands of blog posts written about this and I’m amazed by how many brands still embarrass themselves in the social sphere. Are you really not ready to admit you’re clueless yet?
Social is all about people and it’s funny to watch brands trying to be people in their attempts at being social. Instead, they miss the mark and are, at best, vaguely relevant.
Do you have any friends who keep a calendar of uninteresting posts that they make at the same times every weekday? Of course not. Because, frankly, nothing is more antisocial than that. So why do brands think those kind of activities make their brands social?
The best kind of social media marketing is the kind that your customers do for you. It’s always been this way and it always will be. Be a social brand and people will be social about you. Encourage a social culture—openness, transparency, authenticity. It’s sad that I’m having to spell this out.
So…what does it mean to have a social brand culture?
Your brand cannot reap the rewards of social unless you commit. And the rewards are great. Trust me when I say you want them. You get the most enthusiastic fans who love to rave about you, who will be loyal to you, and who will help propel you into the future.
Being social has to be more than just acting social. You can’t just have a Facebook Page that you post on, you can’t just upload videos to YouTube, you can’t just sprinkle “like” buttons all over your website. Your brand needs to be social, show its personality.
Look at what Starbucks has been able to do because they’ve built a social brand. With My Starbucks Idea, they’re crowdsourcing their business development. Do you not realize how incredible that is? Starbucks’ fans are so enthusiastic that they’re willing to take the time and put their ideas on the line to grow the brand. Not only that, but Starbucks has paved for the way for its fans to start social experiments like Jonathan’s Card, pushing the boundaries of social. And this shouldn’t be too puzzling for you. Humans are social animals, after all. We love to talk. We love help each other, and we get pleasure from doing it. Brands can take advantage of this as long as they don’t try to take advantage of it.
Social looks different for every brand (at least, it should), just like every person has a different personality. Another brand that comes to mind when I think social brands is American Express. They’ve tapped into foursquare to run unprecedented campaigns, they launched the OPEN Forum that has proven to be a hugely valuable community for small businesses. They’re really showing their commitment to becoming a social brand and these days, they’re truly living social. They’re not just executing social tactics. They’re shifting their brand to a social brand.
So I ask you: When is your brand going to stop “doing social media” and start living as a social brand?