Millward Brown: Knowledge Point
How Should Your Brand Capitalize on Social Media?
With the tremendous growth in the use of social media, brands have been wrestling with how best to capitalize on it. However, the way consumers view online social networks means that the normal rules of marketing do not apply; the emphasis needs to be on dialogue and a sense of community. Fan pages can be used to build brand equity, but some pages do this better than others. The nature of social networks is dynamic, and marketers need to recognize that they require active involvement and a willingness to take the good with the bad. Brands are trying to become sociable Marketers seem to have fallen into two camps with regard to social media: Some haven’t ventured in yet, while others have jumped in because they feel they “have to be there.” A 2010 survey by Millward Brown of the members of the World Federation of Advertisers showed that 96 percent of advertisers have been increasing their investments of time and money in social media. However, 50 percent were unsure of the returns they were getting on this investment. Many marketers, even those that have experimented with social media, acknowledge that they have yet to really figure it out. It may not be built into their organizational structure, and they may have few, if any, staff dedicated to the function. Companies are starting to learn from and improve their social activities, but at this point only a minority have a clearly defined social strategy in place. Such strategies will differ for different types of organizations with different needs; for some, having a presence in social networks will be essential, while for others, it will only be one relatively small part of the marketing mix. But the strategies do need to fit in with the overall brand strategy. Why do consumers use social networks? This desire to become involved in social media is understandable; the growth in use of online social networks has been phenomenal. But in order to make best use of this medium, companies need to understand it. What really draws people to social media? What deepseated needs and desires does it fulfill? Firefly global qualitative research has highlighted several drivers. First, it’s about connectedness and belonging. Second, it’s about entertainment and diversion. Third, it’s about control: control by users and for users. After all, the users are the engine that drives social media and its unique appeal. The specific activities at the core of social networking have emotional meaning as well. Every post represents a need to be recognized and acknowledged by those around us. Every comment left or shared is, in part, a way of seeking validation. These underlying emotional factors — a sense of control, belonging, entertainment, validation, and recognition — all shape the ways in which consumers react to brands in social media. Marketers should keep these factors in mind as they attempt to engage consumers. But there are many different social networks, and it is worth understanding their differences. For instance, Facebook is appreciated as a means of keeping connected with family, friends, and old acquaintances, while Twitter is more appreciated for information about current events and popular culture. Other smaller, more specialized networks are aimed at particular audiences and emphasize sharing reviews, issues, problems, and solutions.
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Millward Brown: Knowledge Point
Advertising on online social networks Given attitudes toward social media, it is perhaps not surprising that, in general, consumers do not respond well to the idea of advertising on social networks. Research by Dynamic Logic reveals that overall, just a quarter are favorable toward online advertising, and opinions of social media advertising are on par with online ads overall. This compared to almost half finding TV advertising acceptable. Nonetheless, almost three-quarters of social media users would be...
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