A while ago, I was thinking about how companies would benefit from engaging a social media strategy as a key thrust in their marketing efforts. What would be the convincing factor that will drive companies to adopt social media marketing in the company?
Benefits. How companies would benefit from social media strategies can amplify the need for the use of social media marketing. These benefits would form an equity for the brand or product and services because it tags to it. A terms came to mind - social media equity just as what brand equity might mean.
I decided to just google the term 'Social Media Equity' - not much yet being said but I bet you tonnes of academia and other professionals is just going to pile on this. You know-lar, how marketing people like to create PLUSHY words :P. Anyone who knows which guy first came up with the word - Social Media Equity, let me know. Would love to look into his definition and attributes of it.
Anyway, here's a summary of what came up on the first page of Google:
1. The we got an article from www.customerthink.com by Vandana Ahuja, and the summary of which is contained in what is written by her, and I quote " ... with humongous volumes of visitors on these sites, organisations have successfully mingled CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT with increasing BRAND FAMILIARITY and distinction and focussing on solution importance, to try and create CUSTOMER LOYALTY".
I agree with her on this, in fact back of my mind, more sales is definitely not part of social media equity I had in mind. Vandana nail it right on the spot - Customer Loyalty. Social media creates real customer loyalty because it is what I called the 4Es of social media - Education, Engagement, Entertainment and Empowerment. For me it is even more powerful than companies using Loyalty Card or Loyalty Point system.
2. A blogger named Bernie blogs about Measuring Brand Equity through Social Media Marketing and most of part of the articles talks about traffics and tools to measure social media marketing. You might be interested in these tools so go Here to learn more about it.
Bernie and what many others are saying is correct, Awareness of the brand or product and services is definitely a key equity that is the same as one of the equity attributes offered by Kotler in his Brand Equity. But I like to add that awareness here is not just awareness per se like you know it, social media marketing really takes you deeper than that. An advertisement create superficial awareness - do you know that brand? most people will say "Ya" ... but usually the name is all they remember. But with social media, with all that engagement going on, people REALLY KNOW the brand. So I would say part of the Social Media Equity would be FAMILIARITY as mentioned by Vandana.
So what we have is LOYALTY, FAMILIARITY for social media equity.
I like to add a few more to this:
3. RELATIONSHIP - Social Media is all about community relationship or from the business perspective, relationship of stakeholders of the product, services, brand or company. In a typical marketing exercise or advertising exercise, its really really really hard to establish quality relationship that engages and gets its stakeholders involved. Social Media has managed to achieve this because it has a real time, real tool and real people as part and parcel of its engagement activities.
4. VALUE CREATION - Social media is a powerful method and tool that creates tremendous value for any company or brand that spends enough time, listening. Social media empowers real people to create and offer honest, free and emotional opinions, feedbacks, suggestions, critics, scorns and what have you about the individual, brand, product, service or company. There is no running away. Look, if Malaysians can put an opposition party in huge majority in his history of 50 years and Americans can elect Barrack Obama - we are talking about real real value creation that is people-powered, not company powered. Companies that wants to win and move forward, has to practice really hard on one thing - Listen More and Listen Hard.
5. EFFICIENCY - Social Media is really really efficient because it is real time, it is always on, it is like a life of its own. If a company or brand leverages on this efficiency, it can grow very very fast. In my personal opinion there is no media that is this efficient as a successfully engaged social media. Using the right tools and choice of social media you can create thousands of fans in a very short time and more than that these fans are not just listeners or just view your ads (like a print ads) but there are real people that talks.
Right now I think I will stop at about 5, so in summary for this one lengthy blog of mine, I would say Social Media Equity are made of:
4. Value Creation
So any company that wants to engage social media and social media marketing has to think the benefits or ROI in these terms rather than sales numbers and number of site traffic generations or ranking placement in the search engine.