If I were to write a newspaper article for brands that encompasses what they need to be doing in 2016 and beyond, it would have the title: Stand Out by “Liking” Them Before They “Like” You. Why? Because social media success does not come down to a mere numbers game, in spite of what some brands would like you to believe.
A professional network is more than just a list of well-placed contacts. It’s a collection of relationships, built on a foundation of time, energy and emotional investment. The people that you see every day, at work or in any social group, are in the best position to learn what you’re all about over time. In other words, these are solid, meaningful relationships, whether they’re built professionally or personally.
There are countless ways to grab the attention of your audience, but keeping them coming back for more is where the real value lies—it’s where you build influence. Mom bloggers are a good example of this. Those who developed the greatest influence did so with good content—and kept their audiences engaged by producing more of it. But just because they were moms and their audiences were moms didn’t make them influential. It was the quality of the content they produced that resonated with a particular audience.
One of the biggest trends I’ve seen in 2016 is that more marketers have decided to stop talking past their customers, and start talking to them. It’s what I like to call “Looking People in the Eye Digitally,” and it’s great to see people embracing the concept. That’s the good news. On the other side of the ledger, the brands that have embraced personal, relationship-focused marketing present a stark contrast to the many that are still locked into the old, impersonal status quo. Industry-wide change takes time, when it happens at all, but your business doesn’t have to wait for the rest of the industry to catch up.
The path to purchase is not just evolving – it has evolved. How are brands responding? I sat down with long-time friend and business partner John Andrews, for a live stream discussion on the path to purchase, the evolution of retail, and even some inside insights on our Amazon purchasing habits (spoiler alert: John’s a big fan of peanut butter).
For years companies have been trying to find ways of using social media to promote their businesses, but have been tamping down on the social asset that’s right under their noses: their employees. You can’t ask an employee to be a true advocate for your business on social if you forbid them from accessing their personal profiles at work. Nor can you expect them to be advocates without the proper knowledge of how to “be” social in their own right.
Focusing on the user experience rather than worrying solely about conversion rates shouldn’t be a novel idea, but too often the numbers take precedence over how we reach them.
Funnily enough, it’s only now that the last laggards are finally beginning to spin up e-commerce sites as they realize they’re slowly sinking deeper into their single channel swamp.
That old, moss-covered wall between sales and marketing in the brick-and-mortar world has been showing its age for a long time now. It’s great to see that the wrecking balls are on-site, and they’re clearing the way for the type of collaboration that has long defined online marketing and sales. Major brands have plenty of brainpower on both sides of the equation, and it makes little sense to keep them sequestered from one another.