You see them everywhere. The two logos have invaded Singapore and sit proudly on almost every single advertisement. You say: “Oh, I can ‘like’ and Tweet to that brand!”

But are Facebook and Twitter the ultimate solutions to all your business problems? Overall: No. But it makes sense to use them — provided you use them properly to top direct competition, to get more revenue and to gain profit.

The world is constantly evolving and the digital space is now open to consumers’ needs to share and express what they think and feel.

Social media did not create that space; it is an enabler that makes two-way communication possible. It answers the need for recognition — a consumer’s right to be heard and a deeper level of connection to pride, greed and exposure.

Naturally as a brand, it is important to understand how to connect with those inner feelings and use social media to your benefit.

So what is social media and its implications?

* Consumers are 100 per cent vocal. They know it when they have bought a great product or had the best service they can ask for. They like to share their experiences, good or bad. Multiple platforms are used and opinions spread like wild fire.

* Consumers are 100 per cent connected. They find out before you do; a search can feed them all the information and reviews in no time. Because they are bombarded with information 24/7, their behaviour has changed.

* Consumers are the opinion leaders. They are a part of your brand, and they affect your marketing strategy. A good brand uses social media at its best and puts consumers at the core of it.

Consequently, to build a people’s brand, you have to embrace social media. But remember, it only works if you use it properly. For example, social media is not about replacing your brochure or website, or offering a one-stop-and-go activity.

A successful social media campaign allows consumers to fulfil their inner needs without attempting to control them. To develop such a campaign, here are two key guidelines:

* Do not run a social media campaign in silo, but integrate it with your marketing activities. Social media fuels conversations between a brand and its consumers. It is not about launching a Facebook page and pushing product information. Engaging content is key. Consider and evaluate absorbing topics that will generate great conversations.

* Have a plan on content, time and resources. It takes effort and time to understand what to say and when to say it. In a way, Facebook fans are like kids. They need a lot of attention. Leave them alone, and a riot will soon be on its way. Kids are vocal — they cry, talk, and expect attention. (See box.)

Keep in mind that social media is an invitation to the consumers’ world. The potential is huge for all brands worldwide. To know if you are doing it right, ask yourself: Would you join the page? Would you recommend it to a friend? Would you post a comment?

It all leads to:

* Relevance

* Arresting content

* Engagement, and

* Sharing.

Social media content is dynamic — always reacting to news and trends. For instance: If you own a restaurant and there is a major flood, you could offer regulars free drinks while waiting for the conditions to subside. The relevance here is to be in context.

Twitter is another useful platform. It is simply a short SMS “shout out” to the world. It gets tweeted if it’s exciting and requires extremely high vigilance. Resist the temptation to continuously tweet about promotions and more promotions. You need to ask yourself again: “Who cares?”

Let’s now consider your business needs. The bad news: There are no ready-made solutions, and a mere tweet is not likely to be helpful.

The good news: The relevant solution can be identified through a proper evaluation of your business needs and challenges. A tailor-made strategy can be designed, and its results measured almost in real time.

Then you will have the opportunity to adapt, learn and improve to find the ultimate combination of engagement, marketing and sales.

 

FACEBOOK FANS VERSUS KIDS 

 

UNPREDICTABLE

Live in the "here and now", not future

Constantly seek attention

Voice their point of view, especially when unhappy

 

PLAYFUL

Want to play all the time

Like challenges

Motivated by treats/gifts

Need to plan activities in advance

 

DIFFICULT TO PLEASE

Short attention span

Easily bored and sometimes grumpy

Excited by new games and activities

Creative and refreshing