Because of social media, conversation is the new currency. And today, the question that every brand seeks to answer is how they can better engage their customers with relevant content—to connect with them in a meaningful way. On Monday, DigitasLBi’s Anne-Marie Kline, SVP of Social Content / Managing Director of BrandLIVE, joined a panel of leading digital marketers and analysts featuring Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis, Coca-Cola’s Ashley Brown, Hyatt’s Dan Moriarty, and Spredfast CMO Jim Rudden, to answer that question and more.
Here were some of the key insights and takeaways:
Social is a behavior, not a channel. As explained by Kline, today all channels are social. Social should always be part of the brief—it’s not an afterthought or an add-on to an existing campaign. And as Rudden put it, social is at its best when it’s being used to connect and engage with people; when it’s being used solely as a broadcast medium, that’s when it’s at its worst.
For example, Hyatt treats tweets at its hotels as if it were someone stopping by the concierge desk in person—Moriarty explained that they try to reply to as many people as possible. While many assume that guests always just want hotel upgrades or free perks, the fact is that often they just want to be heard, and engaged with. In addition, as companies become more humanized, customers expect them to adapt and have more human core values as a company. They expect them to take vocal stands on social media - a very human quality.
Shared value is a must. Brown explored how important it is for brands to be honest with themselves. Let’s face it—people don’t want to hear from certain brands every day. Marketers must ask themselves—what is the useful information that our brand can provide? At Coca-Cola, they focus on Purposeful Edutainment. For them, clever has become useful because it makes people laugh—that’s the shared value that they bring to their audience.
The right infrastructure ensures success. As Brown put it, publishing great content every day requires a muscle that not all marketers have right now. The growing prominence of real-time marketing has made that very clear. Kline further dove into the importance of having the right team and processes ready in advance. While certain initiatives and opportunities might happen rapidly in the moment, you need to have a solid social infrastructure already in place where you can turn on a dime with real-time marketing.
And it doesn’t need to be limited to just social. Real-time marketing may have started on social platforms, but it’s expanding to other digital platforms as well, such as digital-out-of-home and display. In 2014, it'll get even bigger and better.
Written by Landon Nguyen, Social Content, and Julie Gomstyn, Corporate Communications