Here’s some of observations about the use of social media (and as shortcut, social media is myopically defined as Twitter and Facebook):
- Twitter, a water cooler chat. Facebook Page, a community canvass. On Twitter, people want to interact with you e.g. complaints and ideas for product improvements. Unless you are a news organization like CNN and The Economist or a celebrity like @Alyssa_Milano, @The_Real_Shaq and @BritneySpears, it’s hard to get away with just tweet-casting without being called inept user of social media. On Facebook, your community want to interact with you AND among themselves. So, it’s relatively easier to get away by not interacting with your fans. Facebook Page can be used by fans as a community wall, for public display of affection towards a brand. In essence, it provides user-created online context for fans to connect with one another, share thoughts and propagating the allure of the brand.
- Social media is interactive. So, be inventive. Toys r’ Us uses its Facebook Page to “to distribute coupons, announce unadvertised deals and solicit feedback.” Others used social media to announce arrival of new products e.g. fresh bakes from oven @AlbionsOven. Some use it effectively as a broadcast tool e.g. @cnnbrk. Depends on needs and context, social media can be used to support your brand building infrastructure or obtain customer feedback or source for talents or ..
- Easier to grow community on Facebook than Twitter? It depends. Coca-cola has the most popular Page on Facebook, with over 4 million fans; on Twitter, Coca-Cola is followed by only over 12,000. It’s the reverse for JetBlue Airways. It has over 1.4 million followers on Twitter and its Facebook Page with over 60,000 fans only. The world’s best low-cost carrier, AirAsia with 15,000-plus followers on Twitter but its Facebook Page is fast approaching the 100,000 mark.The EveryoneConnects campaign by TM started its Twitter and Facebook Page on 19th October 2009. Today, its Facebook Page with more than 23,000 fans but Twitter with just over 500 followers.
- Social media can energize both established and new brands. Blockbuster and niche brands alike can use social technologies for various purposes. Blockbuster brands refer to established brands like Coca-Cola and Nike and usually established over the years via traditional media. Niche brands usually with its band of evangelists. These brands can be either already established offline or those nurtured solely on social media space. It is common for companies to use traditional media to direct people to their social networks.
- Community Size Matters. Like it or loathe it, number of fans/followers is the overt indicator of ‘status’ in social media sphere. Those with low fan-base will tell you that they prefer quality and relevant people following us. But I bet they won’t mind if their fan-base grows thousand-fold, overnight. Also, look at the many ‘follow us to win’ contests out there! On social media, you have richness, in terms of engagement and interaction with your community. Reach, a.k.a. community size, matters too!
Images: Both Coke bottle and Carl’s Jr. burger images are used without permission.