Adweek magazine posted the article “5 Social Media Implications for Brands in 2010” in which brand-holders are told to prepare for the shape of things to come. For years the buzzword tossed about when talking about how to engage an audience more deeply was interactivity. We discussed “How do we make our content more interactive?” and “How can we involve our audiences in more interactive ways” while trying all types of gimmicks, special FX, stunts, contests and anything else that seemed to fit the bill. Meanwhile, the audiences themselves have told us through their own blogs, through Facebook, YouTube and more: we want to be directly involved in the reading, writing and experiencing of content.
The article describes five areas where social media will either become a brand-holder’s focus of attention or an opportunity ready for exploitation, but the most important is the first implication listed:
1. Social media will finally transition from “nice to have” to “must have.”
It is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that this is where our target audience groups live now. In order to remain relevant and to be able to tell the most effective stories possible brand-holders need to wade into the social-media pool and prepare to get in up to their necks. How thoughtfully and strategically they do this will mean the difference between swimming and flailing about.
Another reason is that social media and its motivated and participatory users provide an excellent opportunity for cross-media or trans-media marketing. By adding social-media platforms to your existing suite of marketing tools your storytelling can become more complex, segmented to specific groups, be interactive in meaningful ways and more deeply engage your target audience.
There are many good resources and articles out there to help get up to speed and to see examples (good and bad) of how to translate your brand’s objectives and messaging into the world of social media. We will continue to search for and bring those to this discussion.