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01/08/2010 by

The Social Media Boat

“Social media is the way to go”, “The marketing channel of the future”, “you got to start now otherwise you will miss the boat”. My question is which boat and where is it going? Do you know what you are getting in to and where you would like to go? And of course, I know,  many brands have jumped on the social media boat to be first to market. Some of them are doing really well. 
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But there are a lot of brands wandering around on the social media boat having no clue what they are doing and who are wondering what to do with the sea off people around them (claiming to be a friend). 

It especially gets weird when the sea of people start talking to them. They didn’t anticipate that. They thought social media was a nice new boat ride. Another place where they could tell people how great they are. It might even get worse, the brand aboard the social media boat might even underrate the force of the sea of people around the boat causing damage or even their brand to sink. Last but not least is the social seasick brand who jumped the boat and left all his followers stranded.

What I’m trying to say, having a plan and a goal before entering the social media boat might be a wise idea. First a brand has to figure out what he really wants to gain boarding the  social media boat, think of a destination and a route how to get there. If it’s just attention you want just; place a banner on the boat and stay in the harbor. If it is interaction you want and engagement, set sail and start your social journey.

Second you have to realize that people don’t become friends just to hear your commercial message.  They have been trying to block your message  for years and they are finally succeeding. You actually have to come up with content and/or services that actually interests them or helps them to get ahead in life (or wasting it because they are only spending time on Facebook ). This content has to be written, produced, created and distributed and that won’t happen by its self.

Third people might even start to interact with your content or your brand. You have to make clear what your new found friend can expect. Will you reply, will you interact, will you remove inappropriate comments. And since your new found friends are real people you have to behave as one to. listen and respond, speak as a real person, be authentic, take part in conversations, be relevant, accurate and up to date.

A friendship is giving and taking. So if you start a friendship you got to give and your target audience will give you something back. Their presents for you comes in many different forms:
– Valuable insight in your target audience
– Increase in product spending
– Increase in loyalty
– Increase in propensity to recommend your brand
– Increase in brand affinity
– Decrease in acquisition costs

But don’t forget; Social media is not a short term solution and it requires constant attention. But… in the end it’s worth it.


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Wicher Le Poole
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