At this point, most of the major brands you would consider yourself “loyal” to are using Facebook and/or Twitter to connect with their fans and followers. So, what is the point of a brand having an additional channel for communication and why do we choose to “follow” specific brands?
According to research from ExactTarget and CoTweet, there are two main reasons people opt to follow brands on Facebook or Twitter. One of these reasons being an additional opportunity to score discounts or deals and the other being an act of demonstration to show others a particular loyalty to a certain brand or company.
So, how does a brand decide what they would sound like if they were human? In most cases, brand voices are placed in the hands of one or just a few individuals. These persons are given the task of posting, replying and conversing with fans as if they were the actual brand. These conversations and postings have resulted in what many leaders are seeing as increased engagement and loyalty from fan followings.
As consumers, we realize that our interactions with individuals are merely a by-product of the brand. Sales representatives, staff members and managers we converse with at physical locations are not the voice of the brand, but a reflection of the brand culture, values and ideals. Social media gives us, as humans, the chance to directly communicate with the brand after our in store experiences.
For example, recently I was experiencing some “technical difficulties” with a local cable company. Upon reaching maximum frustration with the operator on the telephone and the online chat support employee, I took to the Twitter waves and wrote directly to the company’s account to voice my opinion. Within minutes, I had received a response from the brand offering their apologies and a solution to my issue. This meaningful interaction with the brand, rather than a local support technician, aided me as a customer to feel the sense that I was being cared for by the brand; something that a local tech could not have done on such a wide scale.
As more brands move into the online communication space, marketers and social media directors are faced with the challenge of offering seamless interaction with followers and fans. Relationships must be created with those loyal to our organizations and brands must be presented as someone everyone would want to be friends with…!
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