4 Steps to Brand Growth in the Age of Social Media

You know a concept has reached the mainstream once you see it discussed on a morning news talk show. There I was preparing my breakfast while enjoying my usual morning chat show and lo and behold the topic of social media came up.

The interesting thing about the discussion was not that they were talking about social media (Facebook has long been a topic of fascination for the world at large for the past few years), but that the guest commentator  was chatting about how the best way for brands to take control of their image on social media is to get ahead of it by encouraging positive chatter from their fans.

This idea of active advocacy, or a more pro-active approach to brand building through social media is something that has been discussed quite a lot by all of us here at Empathica, but it’s quite satisfying to see the topic now showing up in mainstream media outside the world of CEM.

An interesting quote came from that news discussion “In the age of social media brands don’t even own their brands anymore”.

While a bit over the top, there is some merit to that statement. Most brands these days are acutely aware of the negative impact that social media and the wrong story going “viral” can have on a brand’s reputation. However, the flip side of that equation is also true. A large volume of positive mentions and recommendations from the happy customers are equally powerful in building up a brand’s reputation.

So in a practical sense what are the steps to identifying happy customers and building a foundation of active advocacy?

  1. Convert brand advocates by identifying happy customers through existing feedback programs
  2. Target the recommendations based on the customers own experience (i.e. location visited)
  3. Amplify recommendations to become a tangible local marketing campaign by sharing messages via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter
  4. Extend the relationship with the brand advocates by offering incentives and offers

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