Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

Don’t Engage If You Can’t Engage

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Self-professed social media gurus will be quick to tell you that brands need to engage with consumers online. Get on Twitter and Facebook and consumers will love you for it.

However, before jumping in, brands need to ensure that they have the true commitment required or they may end up hurting their brand instead of helping it.

Last week I wrote a post on Workopolis’ brand refresh. Someone from the PR firm reached out to me through Twitter asking if I would like to speak with someone from Workopolis about their brand. As well, a Workopolis employee commented on the post. My first instinct was they were doing a great job by reaching out and showing a willingness to engage in a dialogue with me about their brand.

But I soon learned that the company lacked follow-through. I responded to both saying I would love to speak with someone further about the brand. It has been almost two weeks and I still have not heard back.

I wasn’t expecting a response to the original blog post and was delighted when I received one. I was, however, expecting a response once they reached out to me and found myself disappointed.

This goes to show both the potential and the danger of social media for brands. The commitment in terms of time and human resources are high, as are the risks. If a brand isn’t ready to use social media properly, they will continue to put themselves at a greater risk of harming their brand.

What do you think?


Written by benwisebranding

May 28, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Why Sponsored Tweets Will Fail

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Finding a viable business model has been the 800-pound gorilla in the room at the Twitter office for some time. They hope that their recent launch of Sponsored Tweets, which will see brands pay to have a sponsored tweet appear in search results, will solve this problem.

But the business model of sponsored tweets is fundamentally flawed and sadly destined to fail. It overlooks the raison d’etre of Twitter – allowing candid conversations online.

When people search for something on Twitter they do so because they want to know what people are saying about that topic, whether that topic is a brand or otherwise. While Google search is used to find general information, which implicitly makes paid ads a credible option, Twitter search is about finding a conversation. The reality is that it is extremely difficult for a brand to be a credible part of that conversation.

Brands can certainly be part of the online conversation and some have done a great job with this – Zappos and Dell come to mind although many more exist. But brands cannot be the conversation by themselves and this will largely preclude their sponsored tweets from being valuable search results.

What do you think? Will Sponsored Tweets be a viable business model for Twitter?

Written by benwisebranding

April 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm

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Brand Engagement On Social Media Has A Long Way To Go

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The focal point of any social media strategy is about engagement and communication between a brand and their customers. What exactly this means is still a bit of a mystery, but a study by eMarketer has found that customers might not be on the same page as marketers.

The key finding is that if customers are to follow a brand, they want something in return and generic ‘engagement’ doesn’t cut it. Customers are looking for something more. The top two reasons for friending or following a brand is to learn about special deals and to learn about new products/features. This doesn’t require a two-way conversation, so often touted as the benefit that social media provides for brands.

Despite these results, brands should not go back to one-way broadcast communication through social media. What this points to is that most brands don’t understand how to offer value through engagement and communication. The same survey said that only 3.5% of people follow a brand on Twitter for their service or support. Is this because customers don’t value support on Twitter or because brands aren’t very good at providing support on Twitter?

Once brands figure out how engagement and communication on social media can offer rewards, more customers will interact with their favourite brands online and the importance on special deals and product announcements will decline. This will allow companies to focus on building their brand strategy instead of just marketing tactics.

What do you think? Should brands focus on broadcasting special deals on social media? Could brands do a better job at providing value through engagement?

Written by benwisebranding

January 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm