Posted by
Ryan Flynn at 12:00

 It's no secret that over the last few years there has been a substantial surge of companies, big and small jumping on the social media marketing BRANDwagon. While the use of these new(ish) communication channels has proved successful in driving positive consumer engagement for some brands, for others the resulting effect has only been to show their true (dull) colours.

Social Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint

In a recent article by Dion Chang entitled "Social marketing: the endurance marathon",the Flux Trends founder talks about how "most brands are simply going through the motions of social marketing, without understanding the beast it really is".

Chang goes on to say that,"Social marketing is... a bit like a devil's pact: great rewards, but you can never, ever, get off the treadmill".

I feel it is important to understand exactly what brands should consider before they take the leap into social media - so that they can reach the pearly gates of marketing effectiveness, rather than the fiery place Chang refers to.

What is required to start the marathon?

Social marketing NEVER stops, so before a brand takes the decision to start the race it's important to be sure a few fundamentals are in place - and more importantly, that they are unshakeable.

If it seems like I am stating the obvious, then you are probably a custodian of a brand running on a road paved with gold. But the reality is that many brands jump onto the social marketing BRANDwagon without ever considering what their brand stands for and how it will converse, let alone whether or not this channel is relevant in the first place.

Defining the fundamentals for success x infinity

To get social marketing right requires a firm grasp of two key things:

The Brand Character

  • Why does your brand exist and what does it promise to its customers and fans?
  • What does your brand believe in? What are the values that guide it?
  • What is its differentiated benefit?

 The Brand's Content World

  • What is your brand's tone of voice?
  • What does it care about and find interesting?
  • What story does it have to tell?
  • What do your consumers find valuable, entertaining or interesting?

If social marketing is relevant to your audience, then distilling the truthful answers to the above questions will give your brand a far greater chance of getting fit and healthy from the treadmill that Chang mentions, rather than exhausted and depressed.

Essentially, a brand that lives what it stands for with authentic consistency across all channels - social or otherwise - is a brand that never has to worry about the concept of infinite conversation.  


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