If you’ve followed our blog for long enough, you’ve seen us report on Top Social Media Platforms That Help Drive Sales for Online Retailers, yet we’ve still to report on the impact of social media on a business beyond sales, including branding, digital and product marketing. To start, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) article advising to Build Your Brand as a Relationship  reports that brands are no longer the objects or concepts they used to be. In this social media platform age, brands are relationships. By defining a brand’s particular kind of relationship, companies can create greater engagement, differentiation, and loyalty. Indeed, the article offers a high-level approach to the benefits of building a brand as a relationship, but to bring forward tangible impacts of social media on your product and digital marketing, we’ve gone and dug even deeper
We have already established that in order to build a successful brand in the digital age, we have to develop a relationship, but we haven’t addressed with whom. In parallel with the aforementioned HBR article, the publication also offers a report on how The Most Successful Brands Focus on Users — Not Buyers. In this digital day and age, your business’ focus must be on positioning your brand in the lives of your customers. This means that you shall engage customers more as users than as buyers, and thus shift your investments from pre-purchase promotion and sales to post-purchase renewal and advocacy. With this knowledge, we can apply another layer on our high-level approach to building a brand as relationship and focus on the users of our product or service.
Knowing this, any online business owner must summon their inner marketer, and understand that social media allows us to be close to our customers, which in turn facilitates the ultimate goal of our marketer’s work. In the past, relationship marketing professionals could only have dreamt of having such a channel as social media to impact their efforts.
Laying out this framework is important before digging into tactics to maximize the impact of social media on our digital and product marketing strategies. Indeed, this new channel allows us to:
- Personalize, segment, and manage the user’s experience
Not only do we have segmentation tools thanks to social media platforms, we also get to personalize our customer’s experience around our brand. One of the best examples of this is customer reviews, and how an online business respond to them. In its article on How To Respond To Negative Reviews, Forbes advises that while your response certainly matters for the individual who left the review in the first place, it’s actually much more impactful for the 89 percent of other customers who will be reading it for weeks or months to come. In this matter, social media impacts our digital marketing by strengthening the trust customers put in our brand.
- Measure our efforts and success
When thinking of measuring our marketing initiatives’ success, we often focus on the end of the funnel. Indeed, check out conversion, cart abandonment rates, and even average order value are examples of crucial KPIs for maximized eCommerce success. However, it is important to look at KPIs upstream to better assess or predict the success of our efforts. The majority of social platforms allow us to implement KPIs measuring everything that leads up to conversions or other KPIs associated with sales. Thanks to the various analytical tools offered by social media, we are able to quantify key concepts of relationship marketing, previously unimaginable, such as our:
- Various conversion goals not limited to check out such as newsletter subscription, or others
- Customer acquisition cost
- Customer life value
- Involve the user in product development
If, as an online business owner, you’re looking to go a step further in unlocking the potential of digital technologies to make the shift in your engagement with your customers, i.e. from purchase-focus to user-focus, you might find it novel that a user-centric mindset requires a closer relationship between marketing and product development as the brand and user experience are increasingly the same. When reporting on European multinational SAP’s expertise on brands evolution, digital transformation and purpose-driven marketing, Inc. reports the implication being that when the brand is the relationship, developers must think and act more like brand marketers. In this aspect, social media allow the modern business owner to connect product development directly to customers. This allows you to add value to your users in record times, especially when knowing that 85% of Millennials are more likely to make a purchase when goods or services have been personalized for them.
- Groom brand ambassadors
Sharing valuable information and following up with your customers regularly are key steps to creating a strong relationship through social media. Nonetheless, like in all relationships, time will be the best builder. Certainly, with time will emerge natural brand advocates who will accomplish parts of your reputation management, given that you’ve followed the previous steps. Do not forget to positively reinforce their proactiveness.
All in all, social media has a great potential to serve as a key element of your digital and product marketing strategy, promising to deliver growth, as well as to becoming a channel to elevate customer service and groom loyalty.