Social media has changed the way customers interact with brands, forever!
Customers have evolved with the growth of social media, one-way-messages through traditional media channels and the interruptive method is at its lowest point in history. Customers now are engaging with different social platforms every day that are constantly influencing their behaviors and decisions, people are not putting their trust neither conviction on the so glamorous commercials that push messages, instead, a simple recommendation though booking.com could sway their opinion about which hotel to stay in, other customers ratings in timeoutdubai.com will state which restaurant to have dinner at…etc. they believe it isn’t about companies anymore, if they want news about any product or service, they will find it through social websites, in “the Gold Rush of the Mena region” post we have talked about the potential social media holds to brands and how it’s definitely happening in the MENA region.
Social media designed to be circulated through social interaction, blessing customers with huge access to information; Social media changed the traditional mainstream media method (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many), It encourages information sharing, transforming people from passive receivers of information to producers of content (user generated content).
According to recent studies, people have strong emotional connections to their favorite brands, they link it to who they are, and it defines their lifestyles. As brands become more social and in turn online experiences are socialized, building on these emotional connections should grow loyalty, increase engagement, tweets, likes, check-ins and sales!!
The social customer is active on social networks, has a lot to talk about, highly connected by different platforms (mobile apps, Facebook, twitter and blogs..etc), wants to participate in shaping decisions of products-services, his-her opinion is highly influenced by people like them as they trust the social graph the most!
To mention some social brands that successfully engages social customer, Standard Chartered Bank in UAE ranks at the top as a social brand, in-addition to their active Facebook and twitter accounts, their insightful social game proved how important it is to engage people in our region using the right tools. AL Rajhi bank online social effort in Saudi to bring all people voices and experiences online, empowering customers by uploading their edits and asking them to share it online was a fantastic initiative.
Social customers can spread negative content that would damage brands reputations; we have seen the enormous effort to exchange thousands of locks Kryptonite Bike Lock following the negative content spread around the web that you can open their locks through a Bic pen!! Or the case of domino’s pizza clip showing inappropriate actions of 2 employees that drove the revenue down by 2% immediately and made the CEO of Dominos apologize on YouTube. Brands in our region weren’t immune from social customer negative content too! Best burger in Oman wanted to sue a blogger over a bad review about their burgers because they understood the power of a negative criticism on the web! Also a recent example is the bad publicity hit for the football team Real Madrid’s brand losing some of its Arab fan base due to a circulated clip showing the team members shaking hands with Israel’s president.
What’s your brands social media strategy to engage the new behavior of social customer?! Let us know below.
Amer is the founder of Hashtag, a new social media agency that specializes in humanizing brands on the web in the Middle East.