Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social - Jay Baer, author and 7th generation entrepreneur.
Today, no matter where you look on social media, you’ll see a story or two. Some personal, some professional and some totally out of the blue. Brands are now preparing social media strategies to be in the limelight and never out of sight.
The world is being dominated by social media marketing. The medium is now evolving the way people connect and perceive events taking place around them. Social media and different applications/websites impact the audiences on a massive scale.
The constant traffic statistics created by social media branding are sufficient to demonstrate the influence and hold that social media has over people in our world, both online and offline.
Social media marketing is a powerful tool used by brands in order to target more audiences and connect with customers on a public forum. It gives the brand an incredible opportunity to reach out and spread the word about the mission and vision of a product. It is cost-effective, helps improve brand awareness, engages customers, increases brand loyalty, enhances SEO rankings and so on. Putting out a post on social media means enabling every viewer to comment and share his/her opinion. This increases the reach of the brand.
Influencers are more often used by brands to strengthen advertising strategies, position product lines and sustain the positional awareness of existing products on social media. Social media marketing helps brands analyse trends, consumer insights, perform comprehensive competitor analysis, penetrate new markets and increase sales with social data.
Many brands have taken up social issues via social media platforms showcasing their responsibility towards society. The way brands talk to their customers has changed now, due to high social consciousness among the customers. Due to the growing awareness of and concern about social challenges such as health, environmental issues, unemployment and racism, customers look out for brands that reflect their beliefs.
Brands are well-positioned to bridge the gap between distinct groups of people and capture widespread attention. Nearly four in five consumers feel brands can connect people from different backgrounds and beliefs for multiple reasons. These reasons include the fact that brands carry products and services that appeal to a diverse range of customers and they have the resources and presence to receive significant media attention.
Sixty-six per cent of consumers believed brands should weigh in on social issues because they can create real change, while 63% reaffirmed that brands have the platform to reach a large audience. Forty-seven per cent want brands to take a stand and address social issues through social media. In a survey in 2019, 41% consumers said brands’ social posts influenced their opinions on public issues.
It's more crucial nowadays for brands to connect with social concerns in a purposeful way consistent with their message and reputation.
Let us have a look at some brands that supported social issues increased their reach:
1. Lifebuoy – Help a Child Reach 5
Help a Child Reach 5 was Hindustan Unilever’s award-winning campaign for its soap brand Lifebuoy. The brand kicked off a campaign that promoted handwashing with soap in a bid to encourage hygienic practices in rural areas and schools. The idea came into being driven by research that infectious diseases claim the lives of 2 million children under the age of 5. Lifebuoy decided to take a stand. It created a 3-minute film on the virtues of washing hands with soap. And the film and the campaign went viral. On digital channels, the hashtag #helpachildreach5 started trending on Facebook and Twitter. Lifebuoy’s brand ethos of making a difference by promoting healthy hygiene habits with its products was in perfect harmony with the campaign. That’s what made the audience connect with it. A clean sweep indeed!
Food aggregator and delivery company Zomato recently won people’s hearts for its stand against an unusual demand. The Gurgaon-based firm refused to appease a customer demanding that a Hindu delivery boy bring in his order. Taking a courageous stand - unlike most brands, which prefer to stay mum on sensitive issues - Zomato tweeted it does not discriminate on the basis of race or religion. "Food doesn't have a religion. It is a religion," it said. From celebrities and politicians to common people, all appreciated the move by tweeting in favour of the brand. Many others ordered food from its app to show support.
3. Nestle India: One for girl child
The brand came up partnering with an NGO Nanhi Kali to support the girl child education. In this process, it gave a new look to some of its most popular products like Maggi, Nescafe and KitKat. They changed the packaging by adding images and changing the message from “2 mins noodles” to “2 mins for education” to drive the attention of the audience and let them know their responsibility towards empowering a girl child and ensuring she is educated.