Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Why Social is Something you ARE, not Something you DO « Richard Kent i90 Media


Converse, the leisure / fashion footwear brand currently has just under 16 million fans on Facebook. Its parent company and global behemoth, Nike, has just over 4 million.
I don’t have the turnover figures for the two brands to hand, nor do I know what their marketing budgets are, but I’ll bet my mortgage on the fact that the disparity between the two is reversed – and then some.
So, why does one win on Facebook and the other, relatively speaking seem to be struggling to attract the numbers that its market share would suggest it should have? Well, closer inspection shows the proliferation of the Nike pages – football, basketball etc., but the prime business for both brands is to sell shoes that are worn for leisure and recreation.
But by looking at both pages, you can quickly see that social media is looked upon by the Converse team as more than simply a channel to talk about themselves. Nike, seem to talk about Nike rather a lot.

I’ve maintained many times that social media is like a cocktail party. Guests arrive and talk and listen and engage naturally on a very human level. Spot the person who simply talks about themself and they’ll be the one with no friends at the end of the evening.
That’s why Converse’s plan to hold auditions in cities around the US for up and coming bands, demonstrates a crucial and yet so seemingly obvious point; that the people who love Converse, have more going on in their lives than wearing shoes. They are into music, fashion, movies etc etc and Converse engage with people on this level.
For British brands, particularly with that slightly stiff approach to communicating with customers, this change in the way people roll is a challenge. An inconvenient, awkward challenge that takes them out of their comfort zone. You can’t go to the cocktail party and then start dancing like a Dad at a wedding because you think it’s cool!
But you can listen to what your core customers are talking about on social media and do something with them in the same space.
Humanising your business
I’m talking about humanising your business. Relating naturally to customers and not necessarily just on the familiar territory that you’ve occupied before – catalogue, page advertising etc, but on their patch – their blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
In fact the marketing textbook term, ‘brand awareness’ reveals the current problem for some – but think about it the other way around. People want to know that brands are more than simply being ‘aware’ of them. They want brands to ‘see them’, ‘hear them’ and ‘talk to them’.


How can you socialise your brand? You could talk to us! The prizes for getting it right are magnificent.
[first posted on http://iainflovatt.com/]
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