This ‘how to’ guide will look at ways you can improve the experience of your customers in the most simple and accessible way they interact with your brand: social media. In a world where every sector imaginable is on the brink of becoming over-saturated, no matter what your business does, you need to stand out among the noise.
Nearly every marketing team, in any given company, has at one point tried to answer the question ‘who are we?’, or ‘what is our brand?’. These questions are being asked in vain. This is because it is not the marketing team or the marketing activity that defines your brand. It is instead what others think. Your users, your customers, even just your social media followers who haven’t had any further interaction with your brand. They are the ones who decide what your brand is and how you come across.
In a world where public opinion and perception matters more than ever, it is crucial not to neglect how people perceive your brand. It is very rare that someone will land on your site for the first time and buy or subscribe to something instantly. By the time they appear on your website, they will have already been on something of a journey (not The Shire to Mordor).
More often than not, they will have had some contact with your brand, either by seeing an advert, or doing research. More than likely though, they will have had some kind of contact with the most commonly used touchpoint in the world today: Social Media.
On average, it takes 6-7 brand touches before your brand sticks in someone’s mind, and with so much competition out there in every industry, it is important to make them count. As well as this, even after you’ve done the right thing in ensuring your brand sticks in the consumer’s mind, you still only have less than 10 seconds to grab them once they land on your website. People decide if they will stick around and browse/buy, or just leave and go somewhere else within 10 seconds. This means you have to get people to stay in about the same time as it takes Usain Bolt to run 100 metres, think about that.
A lot of time is spent in marketing thinking about “how can this drive traffic and make us money?” which don’t get me wrong is important, but it isn’t the be all and end all of marketing. What also needs to be considered is “how will our followers or customers feel after they see this?”, or “how will this add value to our customers?”. This is because your customer experience is your brand.
You customer experience defines your brand, which means you constantly need to build up and improve your customer experience, and in doing so this will improve your brand. People don’t mind these days if a brand has a major PR disaster, or complaints – it is how they deal with them that matters. When KFC famously ran out of chicken in 2018, plunging the UK into a chickenless dark-age type wilderness, they tasked their agency, Mother London with aiding the recovery. Mother famously produced this ad.
The apology (read ‘advert’) was shared nearly 220 million times on social, and through newspapers reached nearly 800 million people worldwide through editorial coverage. This is an example of having an authentic customer experience, in good times and in bad.
In a world full of unreliable and untrustworthy news and marketing, authenticity in customer experience is key now more than ever. This is especially important in the social media landscape, where people often come to get away from the mundane and the depressing. This gives your brand a chance to interact with people on a level they feel comfortable with, thus interacting with them in a natural and realistic way. Every consumer – corporate or individual, is a person, and behind every brand? You guessed it; a person (unless you’re reading this in the year 2020, when AI and robots have completed their takeover of the planet).
So, in summary, you can greatly improve public perception of your brand by being authentic, and human in everything you do. This will in turn increase the amount of people that ‘believe’ in your brand, and belief goes a long way. The better customer experience you give people, and the better they feel after every interaction with your brand, further increases the likelihood they will become a paying customer, which after all, is why we do marketing, right?