1. It is not the medium and it is more than just the message
The vast majority of large global companies use social media, making the medium almost ubiquitous. What makes world class social brand organizations stand out is how they differentiate their brands through the medium. World class brands don’t depend on the medium to make them social. They strive to provide unique and engaging content that pull their fans in which allows the brands and fans to enjoy the interactive benefits of social media.
World class brands are much more likely than the average brand to create original content designed specifically for their community of interest and influencers. Although fewer than half of world class companies are currently originating content, they are much more likely than other global companies to report they are creating original content for social media.
Messages are only part of what constitutes a brand’s social identity. Weaving messages into a brand’s story without the behavior to back it up will discredit the story. As most marketers and communications professionals know, style is important but substance is critical.
Creating original material is important to brand identity because it differentiates the brand from its competitors, shows its responsiveness to meeting the varied interests of different communities through customized content and provides a measure of value added exclusivity.
2. Put Your brand in motion
World class social brands are deeply entrenched in social media — eight-in-10 use social networks, three-quarters use blogs, Twitter and YouTube, and at least six-in-10 use mobile apps and crowd sourcing. Usage of all the social brand tools included in our survey is indexed much higher than the average global company. World class companies don’t just experiment with social media tools. They also apply their social media tools in more ways for their brands than the average global company. For example, they are much more likely than the average global company to host branded podcasts, brand-specific YouTube channels, video blogs, viral videos, proximitymarketing, brand-related mobile content and geo-location tools. The social activities of world class brands are not static but in motion. They do not exist to occupy space on social networks but are activated for dynamic interaction with their communities of interest.
Building a truly global social brand with a clear identity that optimizes the customer experience requires rock solid integration. Senior executives of world class social brands are more likely than the average global executive to report that their social strategy is fully integrated into their overall marketing/communications strategy. For world class companies, brand sociability is an enterprise affair. The brand’s social identity is a team endeavor — all levels of the organization are involved.
While core strategy should be primarily owned by the brand or “social” officer, it is crucial that talent throughout the organization have the skills to execute as part of a fundamentally social approach to the brand’s business. It is a fact of business life today that employees, intentionally or not, will participate in online conversation about their brands and companies. Therefore, a centralized function needs to support and inform their activities and ensure that clear and accessible social media policies and procedures are in place.
The spokes are aligned around the brand’s social media policy and leverage the resources of the central “hub.” Such a model allows brands the utmost flexibility for social engagement while adhering to the strategies, objectives and policies of the brand
5. Listen more than you talk
The social activities of world class brands aren’t limited to just pushing out information and thinking the job of brand sociability is done. Executives at world class social brands listen intently to their social media consumers and act on what they hear and learn. For example, they are much more apt than the average global organization to monitor/ research fan pages to determine what customers want, make product or services changes based on fan recommendations and refine messaging based on user demographics or attitudes. They clearly have their ear on their influencers.
Nearly all companies report that they are using at least one form of measurement to prove the effectiveness of their brand sociability. There aren’t many differences between the metrics that world class brands use compared to other global brands, but world class brands are more likely to take a big picture view by measuring the most social of metrics, contributors and the business impact of social, such as reduced call volume, revenue contribution and conversion.
The average global company is stuck on metrics that don’t effect true social meaning – page views are their #1 effectiveness measure. Brand social companies measure the number of people participating and contributing to their social communities, whether this includes consumers who tweet or retweet about brand activities, those who share, like or link to brand sites or post about the brand on their own social networks. Contributors assist in creating content for the brands. World class social brands recognize that these social media contributors are worth watching and engaging — they add value, deepen brand identity and multiply messages rapidly. They are the reward for brand social smarts.
7. Think global
Importance of Global Reach to Corporate operation
8. Go outside to get inside
In this new era of multi-channel, multi-discipline marketing, it is often necessary to engage outside experts to achieve or maintain world class status. Our research found that world class companies are more likely to engage outside support to measure their brand’s social performance. More than the average global executive, those at world class companies hire third parties to measure the effectiveness of their social networking and microblogging. These preeminent social companies are intent on engaging the right partners to measure their enterprise-wide social media initiatives with precision.
9. Be vigilant
Executives of world class brand social companies are 35% more likely than the average global company to report their brand experienced an online crisis in the past year that affected its reputation. These social champions who have dealt with a recent online crisis are no stranger to the risks of the hyper-connected world — two-thirds (66%) report that they deal with negative online commentary on a daily basis (vs. 51% of total global companies).