Brands and advertising agencies have been grappling to crack the complex social media network to effectively advertise and engage with the huge digitally active audience for some time now. But how do brands tell its story and make the digital audience listen to them in a platform that is operated by the users (read: consumers), who control or direct the flow of conversation and interests?
The best of implementation has been Citi Bank's approach to integrating storytelling with the social media. Besides having a Twitter representative who responds in real time, the bank has invested a lot on various social media platforms to effectively reach out to its customers. Quoting an example, Vanessa Colella, head, Global Venturing, Citi Bank, said that while the bank had been advising women customers on their finances for 13 years, the customers were asking for advice on their career and mentoring. Thus emerged 'Women & Co.', a community project on LinkedIn, where the bank customises useful content based on conversation trend or a topic on which women want information, such as how to use office gossip to accelerate their careers. In turn, the bank noticed women who are active in the group, are more likely to recommend Citi Bank's products and are open to using them.
With brands eager to exploit the social media network to their advantage, it is essential to simultaneously think of technology and media, when thinking of creative ideas.However,brands also need to spend at least 10 per cent of their time on experimenting and not just the marketing budget, said Bob Lord, global CEO, Razorfish. He also pointed out how the agency has expanded its internship programme, as the best ideas for campaigns, he has observed, are coming from interns and 19-year-olds who organically live in the social world and understand it without any skill sets.
Lord added that monitoring the consumer interaction trend in China and South Korea will help agencies in other countries pick up cues on the technology available and how it can be effectively used by the brands.
Colella, however, cautioned that merely creating and putting out content, which weaves a brand's values and proposition, is not enough. The content on the platform needs to be nurtured and cared for, much like a plant, to ensure it leaves an impact.