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5 Tips On How Brands Can Thrive On Social Media

It is no longer a secret that social media is ideal for companies to get in touch with customers. However, companies still make serious mistakes on Facebook, Twitter and the like, says Brian O’Connor. In his guest article for HORIZONT Online, the managing partner of the Berlin agency Rethink gives five tips on how good social media marketing works.

Tips On How Brands Can Thrive On Social Media

5 Tips On How Brands Can Thrive On Social Media

1. Divide Send less, listen more

Social media has turned the basic logic of the original one-to-many communication upside down. Brands are faced with the challenge of not only broadcasting, but also of listening to and interacting with their community on social media. Love brands are not created through Valentine's Day posts and lots of likes, but through a mix of creation and curation, dialogue and ultimately also through the comments under a post. 
Companies should actively get involved and be part of the interactions. This is time-consuming and requires commitment. But if you manage to turn the fans into a community of enthusiastic brand ambassadors, you will win several times. With loyal customers, word-of-mouth marketing and a direct line to the target group. Community building is therefore rightly viewed by leading marketers as the holy grail of social media. Nevertheless, many advertisers are not prepared to invest the necessary money in it. 
Because they don't see community building as their job at the moment. But colorful campaigns. And that is the real problem. Social listening is currently probably the best and most powerful tool for deciding which creative path to use for campaigns.

2. Measure success differently

In the past, it was all about generating reach and likes. The social media platforms themselves are now questioning these metrics - for example, when Instagram is currently testing what happens when likes are no longer displayed. That raises questions and opens the curtain on a new KPI: Interaction. The story mode on Instagram is currently a sensitive seismograph for brands, which helps companies to find out what is going down well with users. 
For example, does the story just run through (story completion) or does the user interact with it by voting, swiping or answering? Instagram sometimes emotionalises the buying experience many times over - and strengthens customer loyalty to the brand. In this sense, success can no longer be expressed in the old reach reports. Anyone who observes here closely - and listens - knows what is ultimately successful and what is not.

3. The three R’s of social media marketing

The real problem with brands is often that branding on social media does not work in the traditional sense, but can achieve the necessary commitment primarily through its products. So when it comes to creating content for social media, brands should move on to considering a matrix of reach, response and relevance. Resonance means the likeability of the post, relevance the relation to the core business and reach the classic reach. Content should then be designed in such a way that posts in two of these three categories always perform well and this happens alternately.

For example, if you look at how established German automotive groups interact on social media, you will learn relatively little about the product - apart from the usual #carporn. But there are cars from behind, from the side, from the front. That’s it. This generates a lot of reach and response, but has little to do with the main features of the product. It's the same with classic Valentine's Day posts. But what really sets German cars apart is the art of engineering. 
So why not show this in videos, stories and picture galleries and be proud? When Jonathan Ive used to talk for three minutes in Apple commercials about a milled metal block and the product features of the new iPhone, it made the hearts of fans of the Apple brand beat faster. Why? Because people love to look behind the scenes and want to see how innovative products are made, which people create them and what moves them.

4. People are diverse - and so should brands be

We are rightly talking about diversity and equality between men and women these days. Brands should also take part in this socio-political discussion, because they too are part of society and have a responsibility due to their reach. For example, it is about understanding that not only male influencers can advertise a product, but women too. 
And besides “models” also “completely normal” people can be testimonials. In the last 10 years I have unfortunately had the experience several times that ideas were not accepted because they did not contribute to the brand or are compatible with the brand image. However, this is exactly where the problem of communicating brands on social media lies: People are primarily not interested in the brand, but in the product. Communication that only relates to the brand is non-diverse.

5. It's about people - not brands

In the end, social media is not about brands, but about people and how the products can empower people to do something great. For example, sports fans love Nike because they have always told the success stories of their products - through the athletes and the people who use them to do great things. The Nike brand logo is never particularly prominent, nor does Nike always use the same imagery. 
The example shows that it's not just about a brand logo or product, but about what the brand is all about and what it stands for. Otherwise, no matter how often a brand can talk about its vision, mission and purpose. If this is not reflected in her communication with her products on social media, she appears to be extremely untrustworthy. And then branding on social media is "doomed to fail".