How many friends or followers do you have on each of your social media platforms? How many of those friends or followers are brands?
Today’s consumers want to interact with brands on a more personal level and content, especially through social media, gives them the opportunity to do that. Facebook, as “the largest online social networks in the world”, is the perfect example of content as the driving force of interaction between consumers (Eisenmann, Piskorski and Smith). By creating Facebook for Websites, Facebook bought or partnered with companies such as Instagram, TripAdvisor, and What’sapp that created more space for users to produce and explore content and express themselves. Facebook is a social networking site, but its brand isn’t about information storage, search systems or even the platforms themselves; it’s brand is about the ways its technology and content community continuously connects people and enriches their lives. A company called Hubspot further emphasizes the idea that “content is king” with its website that features webinars, podcasts, blogs, parody songs and videos to get the word out about its services.
Image of Facebook for Websites taken as screen shot, courtesy of Eisenmann, Piskorski and Smith website
Dove, in my opinion, is the best example of a company using social media to create a brand that promotes a positive message. Dove evolved from “the world’s number one cleansing brand” in the health and beauty sector into a Masterbrand through the Campaign for Real Beauty. Dove did this by utilizing creative content through Web 2.0 and social media. It created viral videos and provocative advertisements that consumers responded to, which led to Dove’s brand messaging evolving from “women feeling more beautiful” to more women feeling beautiful” (Deighton). The social debate that sparked from this brand evolution and the amount of consumer involvement in the campaign show that Dove accomplished success in its mission to change the way it and others looked at beauty. Dove still uses stimulating videos and powerful messaging on social media outlets to be successful. Just recently, I found out through my Facebook NewsFeed, that Dove launched its newest campaign Dove: Patches. This video has already been viewed over twenty million times; highlighting the impact content can have on the way consumers view brands. The upsides to movements like this one is that social media and social networking sites allow videos like these to go viral because of the ability to share and connect with others. Of course, this can also go the other way with offensive or inappropriate videos.
Marvel values creating content to reach consumers through its characters and their stories. Marvel has even started hiring employees to be the brains and body behind social media accounts for its main heroic figures. The company felt that this kind of interaction would allow consumers to engage with the brand on an intimate level. Marvel recognizes that humans have this need to be entertained, and providing content fills that desires; however, creating fake personas can lead to consequences for the brand and others. How would consumers feel if a random person was paid “to be” their favorite hero?
Image taken as a screen shot from Twitter, courtesy of Devin Collins
Dove is an especially good illustration of how brands are creating content on social media to form personal relationships with consumers, but does it ever go too far? Brands want to become a part of everyday life and they are humanizing themselves on social media in order to do so.
Featured image courtesy of Flick user Truthout.org