The introduction of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram and Pinterest has revolutionised the way consumers both access and filter information.
Social media platforms provide online users with a space where they can share their knowledge, interests and ideas through both text and images. These spaces are now used to selectively source, hide and subscribe to information, which means that consumers can now actively to ignore any online voices that they find irrelevant or unintresting.
The beauty of online voices for brands is that they are, fundamentally, voices – faceless voices. This means corporations can join these spaces and express the voice of their brand in exactly the same way a real person would express their personality. This has provided an opportunity for brands to build relationships with consumers on a deeper level than ever before.
The fact that consumers now have the ability to recommend businesses they like, services they are impressed with and products they have bought, has completely changed the way that businesses need to communicate with their customers.
It is no longer about sending a one-way message to an audience, but about creating a relationship with consumers. This relationship is highly important because consumers now have the power to block out any irrelevant messages or ideas that they find uninteresting. In what can best be described as a continuous stream of knowledge, information and ideas from selected sources, a brand’s presence will only be welcomed if they are able to add value, which is where content marketing becomes helpful.
In order to ensure consumers do not block or ignore a brand or company, it is important for them to provide value-adding content. Whether it be free styling advice from a fashion brand, or recipes from the local baker, the key to engaging consumers in the world of social media is by understanding how you can help them, not the other way around.
As a member of the Millenial Generation I understand how young consumers use social media, and how they connect with their favourite brands on a more human level. Consumers don’t want to be directly sold anything, and they now know they have the power to filter out any information seen as irrelevant or useless, so it is important to ensure that you, as a brand, are useful.
Value = the currency of the social media landscape.
Yet, there is something missing from this equation – Legitimacy. I think that in order for a business to truly succeed it’s important for companies to honestly reflect their brand personality. That means, brands should see to it that the messages communicated to their audience in the continuous stream of knowledge that is social media, is also reflective of your brand’s vision, goals and mission statement.
To remain visible in this new online world, where consumers act as their own media filter, it is necessary for Brands to become a source of information, ideas and inspiration.