Building Customer Experience through Social Media Branding

“Social media is much more than self-promotion. It is a two-way street, a set of tools that allow you to reach out to people and become the bringer of positive things and experiences. In turn, these people will not just support you. They will be there to help you increase your reach and audience – and turn your business into a viable endeavor.” ― Cendrine Marrouat

Branding means being able to create a niche for the company’s offering in the mind of the customer. It involves using a consistent theme through all the promotional campaigns to impact and build customer experience in such a way that they can see the offering as being useful and different. Well-executed branding campaigns attract new customers and retain the current ones leading to brand loyalty. Branding is not aimed at only making your business look good but also gives companies the opportunity to know how customers experience the brand and how well your customer service is working. Before social media ‘took over’, customer service was all about just treating your customer well and it was enough. With social media companies now have to deal with myriad situations and adapt to them before running a branding campaign. They must be able to build customer experience through social media branding.

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“Within every brand is a product, but not every product is a brand.”- David Ogilvy

Companies are becoming increasingly obsessed with increasing their social ‘followers’ via social media. Can you blame them? The fierce marketplace and increasing number of competitors is forcing this behavior. However, companies need to steer clear of just using these branding campaigns for advertising and remember to build customer experience and relationship with their brand. They must constantly innovate and upgrade their social media branding to reach their target audience in the most powerful and effective manner. Building customer experience through social media branding is about communicating the purpose, value-add and the reputation of their brand. The customers must ‘experience’ the brand even before they decide to use it and this is an exercise that requires extreme precision and refined calculation of customer behavior and needs. Branding must not be done simply because it is the trend as then it will lack creativity and consistency and will be unable to reach out to customers in the way that it is meant to. Companies must be able to forecast how their branding exercise will be received by their customers and how potential customers will perceive it. Managing social media branding is not easy but this is an area where companies must be as precise as possible to avoid campaign blunders.

Branding is about how a company is ‘speaking’ to people – in the case of social media a very large number. It is about how you say what you are saying and that will determine how people will respond to your message. Quite like everyday life communication! The right and authentic ‘tone of voice’ will create and build customer experience that is personal and have the right impact. It will present the brand in the marketplace as being forceful and of great value to its customers. Branding cannot be done in isolation and must also reflect the company’s mission, vision, values and purpose. Aligning the brand in this way via social media will provide greater transparency and clarity for customers drawing them towards the brand and away from competition.

Since a company is trying to build customer experience, the social media branding must be an expression of the ‘real’ people running and building the brand. This would add a human and personal touch to the brand campaign. Only a passionate and highly motivated set of individuals will be able to create this kind of experience. Such people would be able to convey the ‘story of the brand’ and link its value directly to the user. Building customer experience through social media branding is all establishing the brand as being the most relevant and miles apart in class from what the nearest competitor is offering. It should be nonpareil and hold a distinct promise for the customers so that they can see why they should your brand over the many others in the market. Branding goes a long way in building trust too. The better the proposition the more easily trust can be gained and with trust comes loyalty. Loyal customers are willing brand ambassadors leaving the company with breathing space as these customers go out and speak well about them.

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Social media branding although hard, provides a bonzer opportunity for companies to influence and nudge customers towards their brand. Being able to make customers ‘feel good’ about your brand and form instant and lasting impressions is what building customer experience is all about. Customers have short attention spans and so branding must connect with them emotionally to have the right influence that will not be easily removed from memory. It should allow customers to trust the promise you are trying to make through the social media branding campaign. So how should companies actually go about building customer experience that is honest, trustworthy and value-added? What is ‘right’ way to social media branding?

– The branding must begin by defining the purpose of the campaign. It must convey why the company decided to put the message across, what value it will serve, who will benefit and how. When the company is living the values and purpose, the branding message will be honest and true.

– Create a uniform, over-arching and compendious template for the campaign. All the social media channels and other communication channels must have the same look and feel. It keeps the voice of the brand accordant and wherever the customer decides to view it, they will receive the same impact of the message. The overall feel, tone and customer experience will be standard. This further impacts the level of trust and loyalty the customers will have towards the brand.

– Create buy in by first conveying the branding campaign to the internal customers. Get feedback and incorporate the useful advice in the campaign. This will enhance the authenticity and value-add of the branding content. Also when the members of the company feel like they are part of the campaign, they will strive to do their best to make it a success. They will ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’ providing a better chance of success to the campaign. Since the campaign will be genuine it will be more potent in building customer experience.

– Social media branding must be compelling and have a superlative excitement to it. Such a branding will ensure that whoever views it, will be so influenced that they would have no choice but to share, discuss and shower praise on it. This is a great way to building customer experience. Companies would have instant feedback on how well their brand campaign is doing leading to knowing how well the brand may do. The most effective social media branding exercises are those that can allow companies to convey who they are and why they are better in a manner that is so enticing that customers have no other option but to take notice.

– Social media branding is a platform that can allow companies to ‘personify’ their brands through clever use of words allowing customers to view the brands as ‘someone’ who they can build an experience with. People are more inclined towards a personal interaction rather than an automated and rote ‘thing’.

Building customer experience is about making your brand ‘talk’ via social media and ensure that your brand becomes one that customers that identify with and feel one with. Monitor the ‘talk’ both positive and negative, to see how you can do better and remove any unsavory content as part of controlling any potential damage. Social media branding, as we pointed out, is hard work and will need an unrelenting and consistent drive for it to be successful. However, if you are making a positive impact and building customer experience by it, the effort is more than worthwhile.

“Everything you post on Social Media impacts your personal brand. How do you want to be known?”- Lisa Horn

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