The first speaker in this session is Icelandair’s Guðmundur A. Guðmundsson who begins with defining what a brand actually is. It is far more than a logo — and extends to staff attitude, telephone hold music and even what people are saying about you online.
From Icelandair’s point of view, what customers want is a brand with a clear promise which can also come through on their promises. Through social media, companies like Icelandair can broadcast their story like never before. Also due to social media, your brand is going to be defined and gain reputation online — whether or not it is led by you. That is why brands should take their online presence so seriously.
The traditional consumer funnel appears to be falling apart; with new research suggesting that as they move down the “funnel” they are actually adding more possible brands to choose from and not zeroing in on one. This is an opportunity for marketers to push their brands as something new and different.
The post-purchase stage is a new area which goes way beyond word-of-mouth between friends. Online reviews and social media comments (among others) are becoming an important way to spur further purchases from others. This works equally for airlines, face creams, televisions and all sorts of products and brands.
Guðmundur suggests that companies need to reconsider their advertising spending and where it is focused. 70% of traditional advertising budgets are currently focused on the wrong areas of the “funnel”.
Is social media all you need? Well, it might be if you do it well. But it is unpredictable and can be your worst enemy if not done properly.
Following on from Guðmundur, the next speaker to take the stage in this seminar session is Liana “Li” Evans from LiBeck.
Li begins by pointing out that not all social media users are equal. People get involved to greatly differing degrees. The creators, for example, are top of the tree: they have blogs and websites and really drive the field. The ladder runs down through critics, collectors and joiners and down to spectators and inactives — the people who interact least with social media; but it doesn’t mean they can be ignored. They are still there and taking notice of what they see.
Only 1% of social users are considered heavy users and 90% are classified as ‘lurkers’. Whoever you are, it is important to not concentrate solely of Facebook and Twitter. There is so much else out there; from Wikis and LinkedIn to YouTube and MySpace. As well as the direct users, search engines like Google also care about all these social media outside of the Big Two.
Li also recommends the power of email as an enduring draw. If they are on your mailing list, the chances are they like you and want to hear from you! This is a great driver to build an audience for your Facebook Page (for example).
On the subject of integration, it is becoming vital to remember the awesome and growing power of the smart phone. They are quick and convenient and people are using them more and more. At the end of the day social media marketing should be part of a unified and targeted overall marketing programme.
Following Li’s address, the floor was opened to questions.
One of the key themes of the question session is on knowing your customer base and spreading yourself over more than just Facebook and Twitter — a sentiment even endorsed by Rick Kelley from Facebook!