In the old days of outbound marketing and before Social Media was even born, many organisations and brands relied on trade shows, print ads and media as their main source of marketing. Social media has since changed the marketing landscape forever and this incredible platform has the potential to provide massive distribution of information on a viral scale even allowing you to target specific audiences that you know will be receptive. Social media continues to be a critical part of an effective inbound marketing strategy and the biggest brands and organisations now use social media as a primary vehicle for communicating with their audiences, reaching new customers and engaging with their target market. Statistics on current social media engagement are really eye opening and only continue to highlight the importance of incorporating social media into your marketing campaigns.
2013 promises to be another year of massive change across the digital eco system and marketing online without social media will be a thing of the past. Google now use social signals as part of their ranking algorithm and with the growing emergence of Google +, social media continues to drive online marketing campaigns for all the major brands and organisations. The major brands continue to leverage social media as a key marketing strategy with Coco cola boasting 57,156,768 Face book fans followed closely by Disney with 40,652,003. Social media has an unlimited and global reach that can see information shared online and reach millions of people and communities within seconds. Social media can be viral in nature and if any organisation or brand is serious about marketing their messages, products or services online then social media will be a primary vehicle to achieving success.
What is Social Media Advocacy?
Social media is changing at a rapid rate and the way in which big brands and organisations are driving their social media campaigns is changing rapidly. Over the last few years balance of power has continued to shift from brands to the consumer. Communities are talking right now about your brand or organisation and comments on specific campaigns, products and services can have a major positive or negative effect on your brand image.
Social media advocacy is the buzz word for 2013 and whilst achieving brand advocacy has always been an essential part of any successful social media campaign, it is now becoming an integral part of future campaigns for major organisations and brands looking to maximise the effectiveness of their campaigns but more importantly nurturing people to become brand advocates that will bring sustained success. The beginning of any successful social media campaign is to target the right audiences and introducing activities such as polls, promotions and competitions are great ways to attract fans to your communities. Social media advocacy is about producing social media campaigns that get people to do something that promotes their brand. More importantly whether you are an organisation promoting a message or a brand promoting a product, the ultimate objective of your social media efforts over time should be to get your prospects, customers and target audience to champion your brand or organisation which is what the aim of social media advocacy is.
How the big brands are using Social Media Advocacy
Advocacy really focuses on peoples want to promote your brand and the initial goal of any social media campaign is engagement with your target audience. The next stage that helps to achieve success will be to cultivate brand or organisational advocacy amongst your fans, customers and major influencers. Though competitions and viral videos can be significant in engaging with audiences, longer term goals focus on creating brand advocates. Social media advocacy really focuses on brands and organisations taking time to invest in the community through activities that connect with us on a personal level. Pepsi for example have launched the “Live for Now” which will invite and inspire Pepsi fans to live each moment to the fullest through a breadth of global, pop-culture platforms, including relationships with music and entertainment brand evangelists, digital innovation, epic events and unique partnerships.
Brad Jakeman who is the president for Global Enjoyment Brands, PepsiCo said, “‘Live for Now’ is considerably more than a positioning statement or a single ad creative – it is the central governing idea for the brand globally. Live for Now’ embodies a mind-set that is true of Pepsi loyalists around the world, while still connecting with a large and growing number of consumers who share the same values. It will enable the brand to deepen its global equity in a relevant and authentic way, and has already inspired a differentiated way of thinking about brand behaviour across the entire Pepsi global marketing system.”
Brad Jakeman also states that “consumers will be encouraged to tweet, “like” and pin items from the dashboard, as well as to participate in “challenges” issued by various celebrities. Through a partnership with a daily-deals site, Pepsi Pulse will also promote about 50 events and activities in markets across the country throughout the summer. Those deals are meant to further support the idea of “Live for Now.”
The Pepsi Live for now campaign is about encouraging people to share their now moments whilst offering prises such as concert tickets which helps to reinforce its social media messaging, and increase the reach of the overall campaign. The campaign is run through a microsite hub page Pepsi pulse as the main site is branded. This will be the main social media website for the campaign.
The Live now campaign really is set out to create brand advocates through creating a feel good factor amongst their fans. Here the strategy focuses on encouraging people to associate the drink with great moments through a tweet. The impact of the campaign will be further highlighted at the 2013 Super Bowl on February 3, 2013 where Beyonce will be joined by 100 fans who have won a photo contest. Pepsi have also joined Kiss 95.1 prompting listeners to submit a pic of them living in the moment with VIP entry to the Super Bowl after Party hosted by Pepsi! Up for grabs.
The campaign could certainly be a defining moment for how social media campaigns are run in the future and no doubt other big brands and organisations will adapt similar campaigns as they look to increase engagement levels and overall interactions, as well as repeated interactions from a stronghold of influential fans.
The bigger brands and organisations are now realising that creating brand experiences will increase dedication and loyalty to a brand or organisation. As we have already seen in the example of Pepsi, developing innovative and engaging channels for people to share content online within communities encourages potential brand advocates. Encouraging fans to join campaigns that they can connect and interact with will help to increase dedication to your brand, improve your online brand reputation and extend your reach to a far greater audience.