Particularly amongst the younger generations, but increasingly within older generations, social media is becoming a more and more relevant part 0f our day to day lives. We tweet news stories, like other people’s activity, and follow the accounts of the ones we love. Social media is a way of communication, a way of being in the now no matter where you are in the world or what time it may be.
Academics within the field of Geography and Sociology speak of a shrinking world, whereby technological advancements, namely social media, result in larger or imagined communities, whereby relationships can span over a wider, seemingly unlimited space. It’s not uncommon for people to meet each other online, communicate with loved ones from thousands of miles away and even share pictures and videos in real-time; social media can no longer be thought of as a ‘new’ touchpoint. It enables powerful and compelling content to be engaged with by a diverse base of people, and brands need to take advantage of this.
Smart phone applications such as Snapchat and Instagram have shown us how narratives can be created in the virtual spaces we hold in our hands for hours each day, and as Abigail Bryant reflects on in her recent Truth blog post, media scholar Sherry Turkle speaks of an “I’d rather text than talk” culture that is present nowadays. This obsession with technology suggests a potential strategic move for brands to use, highlighting the need for brands to understand exactly how social media is used, and how to exploit it for further customer engagement to maximise success. Creating narratives as opposed to simply stating facts has proven particularly useful for charities and charity campaigns, for example, allowing this diverse base of people to gain a deeper understanding of the campaigns they may be running, or even what the charity stands for as a whole.
Through working with their clients, Truth has played a key role in creating an understanding of reactions to particular kinds of posts – photos, videos, live Q&A’s, etc. – and have advised many brands on how best to initiate a further, sustainable dialogue with a brand’s customer base over social media. “What is the level of understanding of what is actually done as a brand” and “how does a brand’s use of social media fare against key competitors?”. These are both important questions that need to be asked in order to allow the successful exploitation and optimisation of social media’s increasing popularity, and to ensure that brands don’t fall behind their competitors in regards to engaging new audiences and maintaining the ones they already have.
Being involved in various projects with a wide array of clients in my first week at Truth has allowed me to see that the manipulation of social media and a new ‘digital age’ is an incredibly effective branding technique of which must not be passed up upon. Competitors’ use of social media has resulted in social media being used as a branding platform in a way that successfully allows for the co-evolution of a brand and culture has become a vitality for the survival of a given brand. Social media’s power is endless, and we must not underestimate what it can do for branding and marketing.