Live marketing + social media = True ‘brand friends
Let’s face it; in today’s economy and technical age you would have to be a total fool to not tie in a social media strategy to any live experience, and in fact I would even argue that a social media experience should in turn have a live strategy aligned to it. The collaboration between the two disciplines is a match made in heaven for those wishing to increase consumer interaction, influence ‘pass it on’ and sharing and indeed a perfect way to increase true ‘brand friends’
The very nature of a live event is that it is one moment in time; it’s a physical touch point between brand and consumer. But we must always remember that there are conversations that go on way beyond the experience, and it’s these conversations and interactions that brands need to harness and own in order to amplify consumer engagement.
Forward thinking brands now are using these live touch points to kick start social media strategies that not only generate buzz and foster long term interaction and engagement with their audiences but also generate content – that in turn will increase engagement way beyond the live moment.
I don’t just mean that brands are using live experiences to collect data and that data just happens to include a twitter handle.
I’m talking about mechanics used within the experience that create an immediate and live social media interaction. Mechanics such as the use of in-store photo booths with an internet link to interact with consumers whilst they are still in-store to ‘like’ a facebook page in order to see and then share the photos they have just taken.
Clever brands are dragging social media use out of the home and into the live arena. They are not waiting for consumers to go home and then hope that they then remember to log on and interact. They are giving them the mechanic and also the incentive to do it there and then. We have a culture that responds well to immediate reward and engagement – which is one of the reasons experiential marketing has always worked.
Social conversation is a hugely valuable asset for brands to own these days. As more and more social channels come on line and the interaction with them is made easier through improved mobile technology, it has never been so important for brands to get their social voice heard amongst the clutter and clatter. Brands also need to have the power to interact with those that are talking about them.
Agencies and brands need to understand from the off that there is only value in a fan if you can turn them into a friend. It didn’t take brands long before they entered into a popularity contest with each other vying for the most ‘Likes’. It seems that companies are often simply content with growing their audience numbers and they’ve been comfortable measuring return on investment by the number of fans they have on social media. They should be questioning the value of such a one-dimensional strategy, and realise that whilst it’s easy to create a social community, it’s much harder to hold on to it.
So whilst some brands are actually buying fans (I’m still baffled at how anyone could think it could ever be worthwhile buying a friendship), or simply measuring ‘success by numbers’, the clever brands are investing their money in live marketing to create an online community with real friends – or advocates. And that’s nothing new.
Ian Irving, The Tailor of Shoreditch.