Let’s start with a quick question… When was the last time you saw a television commercial and thought “Wow! That looks awesome!” and in turn, purchased that item? If you’re anything like me, you can’t remember the last time you did (or if you EVER did). I’ve never purchased a shampoo because of a fancy ad in a magazine. I’ve never gotten a hair removal treatment because of a radio ad. I also haven’t and won’t hire a lawyer based on the billboard I drove by this morning.
So, what’s my point? Traditional advertising has essentially lost its effect - but that’s no secret. Intrusive, gimmicky ads have been avoided at all costs by consumers, especially millennials like myself, for most of our lives. Only about 1% of millennials admit that a compelling advertisement will influence their trust in a brand. The bottom line is this: if you're a brand manager looking to break through to my generation, you're going to have to find a better way.
Authenticity & Value
All thanks to social media, consumers are closer to brands than ever before – and things like transparency and authenticity are non-negotiable. In response, savvy brands have completely shifted their approach. They aren’t just businesses trying to sell products anymore. Now they have attributes, goals, visions and a mission or purpose.
Smart marketers are beginning to rely less on traditional advertising and focus more on inbound marketing tactics because it’s been proven that today’s consumers are more likely to trust brands that interact with their customers and engage with them casually. As a result, marketing strategies are rapidly evolving from advertising-centric to social-centric and content based.
Brands with a strong presence on social media have increased authenticity and transparency, leading to customers seeing more value in the brand. Via employees, social media can now increase marketing efforts and expand reach drastically and at a fraction of the traditional costs. In the United States this year 78% of Americans had a social media account on at least one network, up 5% from the prior year. Worldwide, it is estimated that almost 2 billion people use social media. That’s an incredible amount of reach for a brand, just waiting to be tapped into.
Employee Advocacy: The Social Employee
Word of mouth is 10 times more powerful than traditional advertising and social media sites are great platforms for people to share their thoughts, opinions and reviews. It’s also an opportunity for a company’s employees’ to interact with the public on behalf of the company, as social ambassadors. In the digitally-driven social world we live in now, every employee within an organization is part of the bigger picture that marketing is painting. Employees need to become advocates for their company and play their part in the overall marketing strategy in order to propel their organization into the future and position it for success. Employees power brands, so they should be recognized in marketing plans as the force they truly are.
Intrigued? Good! Check back here next week for part 2 (of 3) in this series to learn exactly what you need to do to build your social employee army.