Social PR Chat did a little soul searching and finally saw the Forrest-er between the trees. Forrester’s 2012 Marketing Leadership Online Survey of 99 marketing leaders found that:
- 93% of marketers believe they need to reinvent their brand building strategy as a result of digital innovations like social media, social PR and mobile
- 92% say that social media has fundamentally changed how consumers engage with brands
- 86% believe social media is fundamentally changing how brands are being built in the 21st century
- 61% say they must reduce their reliance on traditional media and traditional PR to build their brand in the 21st century
The survey also found that marketers believe that within digital channels, social media is second only to the Web in affecting branding, with 82% saying social media has very much affected or significantly affected their brand building strategies.
In another Forrester report, “How Social Media Is Changing Branding Building” author Tracy Stokes argues that although social engagement is necessary; it is not sufficient for brand building.
She warns that an overall brand building strategy must always dictate the social strategy.
Communication via social networks is not scalable.
Social PR Tip: Facebook recently informed advertisers that only 16% of fans see organic content posted by brands. Second, messaging through social media is too fragmented.
Social PR Tip:The puzzle that makes up social media messaging can be difficult for customers to decipher, the use of paid media and traditional PR is still essential to distribute a coherent brand message.
Social PR Tip:
A brand’s social strategy is only as good as the overall brand strategy that guides it.
Brands need to lead the customer with a clear vision of who they are and what they stand for - then ground all social engagement around that vision, in effect seeding the conversations. Social gardening? Then and only then, can healthy social engagement occur.
Once the overall brand building strategy is in place. Forrester, suggests three ways social media and social PR can help achieve the goals set forth, including:
- Build a relationship to become more trusted,
- Differentiate through an emotional connection to become more remarkable
- Nurture loyal fans to become more essential
Peace, Love and Flower Power for Social PR
Social media and social PR build consumer trust by humanizing otherwise faceless corporations. They also empower consumers by giving them the power to inform corporate decision making on things such as new product ideas or policy changes. Social media and social PR can further help to create trust by their ability to correct negative images through direct customer contact.
Social media and social PR help brands in a crowded market differentiate their products by creating an emotional connection with their consumers. Branded, cause related social efforts that are able to rally masses of their customers to bring about positive change on issue they care about are especially effective in creating this emotional connection to the brand.
Lastly, social media and social PR can help nurture loyal fans by engaging them in a more immersive experience, rewarding them with personalize communications, and can even activate new advocates using their establish fan bases.
Social loves me, it loves me not – What does this all mean?
Forrester believes that social’s long-term impact on brands will result in:
- A blurring of the distinction between corporate and brand identity. Where, thanks to social, employees become the face of the company,
- Connection planning supplementing channel planning — that is, the shifting of dollars from traditional media and traditional PR to digital media and social PR and ultimately to consumers’ connection points vs. siloed media channels,
- The increased importance of “tent pole” events to help brands rise about the chatter that is social media, and
- Marketing mix modelers reinventing their models to account for new consumer behavior with agency-based marketing mix models, with companies like ThinkVine, gaining more traction than regression-based modelers such as MarketShare and Nielsen that rely on historical vs. real time data
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