Social Marketing

Thinking socially has always been the key to good marketing


June 10, 2015

All this talk of the importance of social media got me thinking. Isn’t the point of good marketing to be social? Hasn’t this always been the case?

We have all bought products or brands that have been recommended to us by friends, family, colleagues and website review etc. So in fact the premise of social marketing is not new, the platforms may be new, but the idea has always been there. Below are a couple of reasons to illustrate this.

The best brands have a personality. Iconic brands have evolved by creating a personality and a lifestyle that their brands represent. Remember the Apple adverts that pitted the cool kid (‘the Mac’) against the buttoned up stiff (‘the PC’). Immediately, owning a Mac was associated with a cool lifestyle.

Other brands have also recognised this personality creation. Adidas created the fastest growing Twitter handle during the 2014 World Cup, by creating a handle for Brazuca, the official ball. The account followed the progress of the ‘ball’ at the centre of the world cup.

After all, the reason we buy the brands we do is because they make a statement about us and our lifestyle; our personality.

Sharing is the most sincere form of brand advocacy, and every brand manager is after creating legions of complicit brand advocates. Endorsement is central to this. Social media lends itself to this type of organic spread through ‘likes’, ‘shares’ ‘retweets’ etc. Brands aim for the holy grail of ‘going viral’ but being social should be at the heart of every campaign.

People will not share content unless it means something to them or resonates, or makes their day better or more meaningful (or unless they find an amusing meme featuring a cat).

Got a punchy tagline? Whassup! Remember that bad boy? Before we became obsessed with the #hashtag there were strap lines. Got Milk? Whassup?! Ker-ching? It does what it says on the tin?

These are all memorable slogans – some annoying, no, in fact most are, but to our copywriting friends these are the equivalent of ‘content’ going viral.

The introduction of the # to society has led brands to come up with witty/memorable lines to own. These become the 21st century slogan (if done properly).

Great content has and will always be great. Content did not just ‘appear’ 10 years ago. Maybe the term has become more cool, but for years great advertising has relied upon great content.

One of the most memorable adverts, that sprung to mind as I was writing this, were the Guinness adverts of the late 1990’s. Remember the surfers and horses? And that incredible soundtrack? Powerful stuff.

How about Levi’s Flat Eric? That fuzzy little fellow, with a fantastic, catchy soundtrack. Great adverts that were ground breaking at the time.

GoPro has gone a stage further using sourced content supplied by users of the cameras, to share the lifestyle and possibilities of the product. This takes the emphasis from the brand and puts the consumer at the forefront.

But what this means, and most of civilised society should take heed, if you have nothing interesting to post on social media then you probably shouldn’t post at all. The social media content we produce should be coherent, otherwise your social media feeds will be shambolic and diminish your brand.

Real time is best. If brands can react to current affairs and make their brand relevant – tastefully – they’ll gain the PR and social audience they desire. Social media demands this of brands, to remain current and ‘plugged in’ you must react to the world around you.

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