The future of social is private. That has become abundantly clear in our new COVID reality where Whatsapp and Facebook groups have become your number 1 source for info.
While you spend time and money building your brand’s social media handles, never forget that communities are having conversations about you when you’re not in the room – on Facebook Groups, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc.
Those conversations are not happening on your social media pages. You may not even know that they’re taking place. The Big Ambitions team stumbled on this twice last week without even actively looking for examples, for two different travel/tourism brands in South Africa.
“Your brand is about what other people say about you when you’re not in the room” ~ Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.
In case #1, the conversation wasn’t even about the brand initially, but a competitor took advantage of the negative discussion and injected the brand into the conversation, linking it to another brand that had been the topic of conversation initially.
It was the spark that was needed for the brand to be associated directly to the negativity. As is often the case on social media, the brand was discredited without having done anything wrong and didn’t even know the conversation was going on.
In case #2, the conversation started with a question on a private Facebook group: Would you recommend…? This can go one of two ways, and in this particular case, it went favourably for the brand, with raving fans jumping in to recommend it. They advocated for the brand and the authenticity of their recommendation, an independent recommendation by a peer, will stand that brand in great stead.
So, what’s the lesson?
Spend time converting your customers into advocates – an army of raving fans – who will talk about your brand positively when you’re not in the room. Their word is more trusted than yours. How to do this? Make your marketing more about them, and less about you.
Niche and intimate communities have formed as a result of COVID-19. They are asking each other questions and sharing information. Since you often cannot be part of the conversation, perhaps you don’t even know it’s happening, make sure your customers love you so much they’re inspired to advocate on your behalf and invite you into it.
“86% of all online traffic to brand websites start ‘dark’ – from personal conversations”