Social Media Slave

It seems like every brand is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc etc.. but is a following on social media the best way to measure a brands success? 

Recently I was at campus career fair and a lot of the companies that were there were giving away free merchandise or goodies in exchange for a Facebook like- I don’t know about you but I don’t think that that is the point of having a social media presence. I liked a lot of companies that day for some free stuff (who wouldn’t!) but I don’t care about those brands/companies. I wont tell people what a great company they are and how exciting and innovative they are… I think that a large majority of brands/ companies don’t really understand the point and they just want to make sure they are on the social media band wagon!

I went and checked who the most popular companies are on Facebook (by likes) and the results 1.Coca Cola, 2.Red Bull, 3.Converse, 4. PlayStation, 5.Samsung Mobile, 6.Starbucks, 7.Oreo, 8. Nike Football, 9. Wallmart, 10.Pepsi. (http://www.socialbakers.com/all-social-media-stats/facebook/) Aside from the beverage trend these companies provide very different products. So what makes them the most popular brands on Facebook?  A similar result can be found on Twitter  with Samsung, Starbucks and PlayStation being in the top 10.

According to Thomson Dawson (http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/branding-and-social-media) a “Brand Voice” is one of the most important things a brand can have- by this he means the way in which a brand “communicates its purpose, values, reputation and experiences”  he goes on further to say that a brands voice cannot be at the whim of every new creative style or trend appearing sloppy and inconsistent.

I think that that is what makes the Top10 companies on social media different- they are not just trying to get numbers but they are creating content that remains true to their brand voice, with social media being just another outlet for them to really connect with their consumers. These brands are powerful brands that have a very clear voice that they consistently communicate to their audiences- yes they stay trendy but they do not change who/ what they are just to stay on top. These brands do not need social media to be popular, they have gained a social media following due to their already gained popularity. I think some companies might feel that this can be done the other way around which is why they will literally “buy” their social media following. 

Social Media can be an powerful tool and it is gaining popularity among consumers- it just needs to be used right! It needs to be part of a consistent ‘voice’ that allows consumers to stay connected and to interact with brands, it shouldn’t just be some more aimless advertising. People are becoming immune to traditional ads (especially in electronic format which is already so cluttered). Brands need to find a way to truly connect with their audience and stay relevant in today’s ever changing environment (easier said than done) and to remember that a ‘like’/ ‘follow’ is no indication of true customer loyalty.

Personally I think part of the problem with social media following not translating into customer loyalty (or increased sales or however brands want to measure their success) is the monotony, all the brands I follow seem to do the same things to try and gain a greater following- competitions mostly- which does work in the short term but I;m not so sure what the long term results are. Some brands get really creative though and I think my favorite example of this was when Red Heart Rum sponsored Ramfest this year and they had the dares with the spin the wheel which, yes was a competition because if you did the dare and posted it to Facebook you could win something, but it got a lot of people involved- every single day- for a few weeks leading up to Ramfest. Creativity is in my opinion the best way to gain not just a greater following but new customers which will translate into loyal customers over the long term.