Blog post based on Ryan Morris’ article “Brand Approach to Social Media: Where’s the Party?” from December 19, 2012.
We’ve always thought of social media as a gathering of people — a party that the brand throws for its customers – similar to the Emmy Awards gathering the finest in the television industry, a celebration in front of a room full of Hollywood’s elite and a nationwide audience.
How will you react when your favorite show wins the coveted award?
As a brand, the question is, how do people react to what you put out there on your social channels, and what do they do about it?
The Core of the Awards
At the core of the Primetime Emmy Awards is the host. Neil Patrick Harris is taking back the stage for the second time to engage and entertain.
In the case of social media, the brand is the host. When the brand takes and accepts the host role, you sense that someone is present, attentive and interested in you. Like a good host, the people who speak for the brand are noticing who’s there and interacting with them — involving the audience in the evening.
You also sense there’s a program. With the Emmy Awards, it’s the entertainment, the presenters, the videos and acts. These folks make sure the guests in the room and at home know what’s going on. They understand the atmosphere the host wants to create, and the feel of the event, and they’re helping to make it happen.
Any great awards show gets the audience involved. In the ballroom, you see the cameras showing actors supporting their cast mates, some crying and others cheering loudly while standing up. They make funny faces or embrace their spouse, and are engaged. It’s their personalities, their willingness to contribute to the overall environment and the connections they make with each other and with the host that really bring the life to the evening.
For brands, these people in the audience are called ambassadors. They like you, and they can be a big help. Most importantly, their charisma and energy influences others. They get people talking and involved.
Fun is Contagious
Often because of the efforts of the host (the brand) and the audience (ambassadors), a new wave of people to get involved in the fun – those watching at home.
By fun, we mean an intense discussion of red carpet appearances, dresses, and award winners and losers. Those at home feel included in the atmosphere and participate enthusiastically.
Because of all the good vibes created by this time, even the folks who typically just sit on the sidelines begin to enjoy the event. Perhaps they don’t normally watch the Emmy Awards, but after seeing a stream on a social media feed of comments, photos and reactions, they are inclined to join in and follow along. It may not necessarily be in their nature, but they like the energy, and want more.
In the social media world, these might be the readers of your page and the comments that other people post. They don’t necessarily post their own contributions, but they keep reading and they share something from your page now and then with their own friends. They also may buy a lot of your products. Most importantly, they like the atmosphere you’ve created and they’re influenced by the energy of other people.
The Social Balance
When hosting the Emmy Awards on Sunday, Neil Patrick Harris knows he needs to cater to all genres of viewers. He’ll observe the room, gauge real-time reactions, and adjust his script accordingly. Watching and listening closely, he’ll also be observant of what is generating conversation beyond the room and how to accelerate that interaction.
On the web, while posting images of kittens is cute, and “cuteness” always seems to perform well, what does it do for a retailer’s brand? It’s important for recreational relief and adds to brand personality, but in doses appropriate to the brand’s business goals.
We’ve found the content mix of 30/40/30 to work best. That is, about 30-percent of the content is social (such as funny images, viral videos, and purely social questions), about 40-percent is brand-related (content that speaks to the core of the company’s identity) and the remaining 30-percent, category-related (relates to a particular category of item the retailer sells — such as clothing style trends — but not necessarily a particular clothing product).
Many brands do better with 30-percent social; 20, brand-related; and 40, category-related. It depends on the brand, what it’s trying to accomplish, and what its constituency is looking for.
It’s Still About the Business
While having fun on social media and being approachable is important to building a fan base, you still need to focus on building a relationship structure.
Viewers turn in to the Emmy Awards because they feel a connection to their television shows, their favorite characters, and to be a part of the primetime discussion.
There’s a lot more talk now about which is better: 10 million fans or 10 million individuals that you engage with? But really, the right question to ask is which is better: 10 million fans or 1 million fans that actually engage with you?