Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Posts Tagged ‘social networking

Advertising on Social Networks Doesn’t Work

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ComScore has just released data showing that social networking websites still charge much less for digital advertising than traditional websites.

D’uh!

This should come as no surprise. People find social networking addictive. They spend hours checking the latest updates on the Facebook wall. For many it is the first thing they check in the morning and the last thing they check at night.

People find social networking unbelievably engaging. One can assume from this that the actual content must be pretty interesting. So why would anyone expect people to notice small ads on the side when the content in the middle is so damn good?

The answer is simple – they shouldn’t. Social networking by its very nature is not as well suited to regular ads as traditional websites.

What can your brand do about it?

Don’t worry, there is some good news for your brand. Social networkers have shown a tremendous willingness to engage with brands through social platforms. Today, Starbucks is just short of 10 million fans (or ‘Likes’) on Facebook giving the company access to a huge pool of potential brand advocates.

By engaging with these fans, Starbucks (or any other brand for that matter) has the chance to build brand loyalty with users in a much more meaningful way than is possible with regular ads.

The idea of ‘engaging instead of broadcasting’ through social networks has become a cliché, but for good reason – it works.

What do you think? Is your brand still relying on regular ads on Facebook?

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Written by benwisebranding

July 12, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Gaining Trust on Social Networks

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Last week eMarketer released some great data about brands and social networking.  It should come as no surprise that the most trustworthy source for information about brands on social networks is from other consumers. It has long been known that peers are the most credible voice and this is no different on social networks. Brands themselves actually place a close second (32% vs 38%), which is much better that I would have guessed.

But the real implication for brands is about how to gain consumers’ trust on social networks. There are two steps in doing so. First, since both brands and consumers are seen as fairly credible sources, your brand must create a community where conversations occur among consumers in which the brand has an ongoing role.

This makes use of both influential groups in a way that is already naturally occurring in the eco-systems created by social networks. There are lots of tools and platforms to create and take part in these conversations, but Facebook and Twitter remain at the top of the list (mostly because of their size).

The second part, and much more important than the first, is that brands must provide something positive for consumers to discuss online. Essentially, this means that you must offer a remarkable product or service – something that is worth talking about. This comes back to viewing your brand as a business system. It is not enough to say how great you are, your entire business system must be set up to deliver this greatness. Amazing customer service? Really innovative products? A great shopping experience? These are the kinds of things that will start positive conversations on social networks.

Once the conversation starts, and it doesn’t matter who starts it as long as it in a genuine interaction between the brand and consumers, it will be seen as a credible source of information on your brand. The flip side is that if you offer something that is sub-par, consumers will talk about that too. And then it won’t matter what you say, people will only see the negative side of your brand.

I know, this is pretty common sense (or at least it should be). But the reality is that it happens far too infrequently.

What do you think? Are you giving consumers something to talk about online?

Written by benwisebranding

April 5, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Does Facebook Know Their Brand?

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Facebook, the social networking giant, is seen as one of the strongest brands in the digital space, and arguably one of the strongest out there at all. But does Facebook truly understand what their brand offers to consumers?

Facebook, which just celebrated its 6th birthday by passing 400 million users, has released images of a new site redesign (see below). This is a relatively common occurrence for social media sites that are constantly adding new features as the underlying technology increases in sophistication.

Facebook brand

While it is commendable to update and improve your product, Facebook’s latest redesign shows that they might be confused on what their brand offers. The most noticeable change is the new emphasis on search. This reminds of their recent addition of the ‘@’ feature commonly used on Twitter. I am sure that many people appreciate these new features, but it shows that the brand is lacking a clear value proposition and trying to be all things to all people. Is Facebook about search? Networking? Photo sharing?

Don’t get me wrong. Facebook is a great brand with a lot to offer but if they are going to continue adding and engaging users at the blistering pace they did in 2009, they will need to clearly define their focus and communicate that to consumers.

What do you think? Does Facebook lack brand focus?

Written by benwisebranding

February 5, 2010 at 7:15 pm