Jon Gunn, social brand editor, Gutenberg Networks
Increasingly over recent years, brands large and small have awoken to the reality that they need to engage with the emerging environment of social media. Some have accepted this because they see others doing the same and don’t want to lose their competitive advantage. Others recognise the expansion of permission based marketing and the shift in consumer behaviour from one of passive involvement to active engagement.
Some brands that stepped into the social media space early on have gained the biggest advantage. Being an early adopter can always pose risks but also has the potential to help steal a march on the other latecomers to the game.
There is good news for those who are only just engaging. Like many situations in life, sometimes it pays to wait a little and watch before joining in. As the array of social media platforms has grown exponentially and many of these have evolved and developed the landscape is beginning to settle.
The beta models have been run and now we are witnessing a shift from early testing to one of focused commitment. User and consumer patterns are emerging and now we have a body of evidence to validate which tactics produce the most effective and efficient response. Social Media is reaching puberty.
Some brands who have jumped in early, for all their good intentions they have got it badly wrong. Exploring the potential of new media can be a risky business and with such a seismic shift in both the application of the media and a shift in consumer mentality there are lots of variables to deal with.
Above all though I’m glad to say finally, on the whole, they are beginning to understand that they have to take social marketing seriously and make it function properly. Many now realise it is not just about how many “likes” or “fans” that they have or as the support act for other activities. Social media is begging to drive large volumes of engagement and subsequent sales.