January 7, 2019

How Social Media Can Advance Brand Purpose

Honey Comer-Cantrell

In recent years, “brand purpose” has not only become the marketing buzzword of the moment, but something increasingly demanded by consumers. Millennials may have lead this charge, notoriously preferring brands that align with their values, but other generations are rapidly following suit. In fact, a recent Accenture study revealed that more than two-thirds of all consumers now report basing purchase decisions on the words and actions of a brand.

While many marketers are well aware of the need for purpose, the act of identifying that greater reason for being (beyond profit) and connecting it to customers can be a daunting task. Fortunately, social media provides a plethora of insights and opportunities to help along the journey:

Listen to your community to discover and evolve your “why.”

The relationship between businesses and consumers is more symbiotic than ever before, and social platforms offer a unique line of direct communication between them. With 63 percent of consumers believing that their actions on social (like commenting and sharing) can impact a brand’s decisions, it’s clear that those who demonstrate a willingness to listen and adapt are best positioned to win customer loyalty.

When applying this to brand purpose, it doesn’t necessarily mean looking for customers who are asking for corporate responsibility initiatives by name. For example, a B2B customer asking for a more efficient product is ultimately asking for a brand who values and champions their time. When evaluating social feedback, take care to hone in on the subtext. Identify themes, match them to what your company can deliver on, and use that information to fuel your path to the right north star.

Share your purpose authentically with social content.

Social provides one of the best opportunities to tell the story of what your brand stands for in an authentic and compelling way. Don’t be afraid to pull back the curtain and show customers the ways your purpose permeates the business. This could mean highlighting employee stories, shedding light on an ethically sourced supply chain, or demonstrating a commitment to innovating in partnership with customers. Consider documentary-style video or stories, since both content types lend themselves well to storytelling and have a track record of driving strong results (especially when supported with paid media).

The key is to focus on the amazing things you’re doing already and feature real people whenever possible. Savvy customers will be quick to spot content that’s contrived, which can lead to more backlash than benefit.

Reach the customers who share your values.

One of the advantages of a purpose-driven approach is that it provides focus—and focus means increased efficiency, particularly on social. Through careful targeting, you can ensure that your message reaches an audience whose values most align with your own and increases the likelihood of a resulting action.

As you gain steam, cultivate community with these like-minded consumers by actively engaging in the conversation and providing added value along the way. Thriving communities will produce valuable insights that can feed back into future initiatives, creating a long-term dialogue that leaves customers feeling heard and makes the most of marketing dollars in the process.

Although tackling brand purpose may feel like a massive undertaking, these tips will help you start leveraging social to propel your strategy forward.

Tags: Community Management, Data & Analytics, Paid Media, Strategy, Trends

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