Written by Shaan Khan
Companies within the commercial space need to acquire social awareness and cultural relevancy to draw in consumers and loyal members to their products, services and brand.
Social media isn’t only a virtual world and a global hub of mass communication; it’s also one big popularity contest. There are many features available to boost recognition for users and a whole social ecosystem to navigate and capitalise.
As marketing and public relation teams for ‘big shark’ companies are caught up attentively figuring out strategies of communication; I hope to provide you with the fundamental principles behind communication strategies—that highlight social media benefits for companies.
A dedicated and loyal consumer base is what all companies strive for. They are the supporters of your brand, bringing in positive attention to your products through word-of-mouth and are at the fore-front of purchasing your latest products and services.
When engaging with a loyal consumer base, you can expect to receive genuine criticisms and patience in light of failure, as their gained trust in you can give you leeway over your future errors, helping you improve as a company. Instead, if you cater to a non-devoted consumer base, they can quickly move onto a competitor due to their lack of reliability on you—leaving them with unfavourable impressions and you receiving no suggestions for improvement.
How do we transform our audience into dedicated consumers with the use of social media? One method that is inherent in social media is to support the flourishment of cultural content associated with our brand, product or service by users.
Companies that position themselves as arbiters of cultural enrichment to supports their brand; delegate teams to encourage and platform users to produce creative works around the company—this can include user-submitted artwork, blogs, videos and live streams.
You mould a cultural landscape for users to celebrate, critique and appreciate there bond with your company; in return, they dedicate time to express their interest in you through creative means. Also bringing awareness to you as the content takes the digital stage in front of the masses.
One such example that reflects the brilliance of the method is ‘Apple’s 2019 iPhone release event’. In response to the event, Apple fan’s would express their feelings with the product and sharing it with others by uploading videos of their impressions and issues with the phone. In effect, creating a database for suggestions and feedback for Apple and allowing their fans to spread the message of the product with their creative twists that can further accelerate the appeal of the phone.
Social media—the nexus of communication; the spiral effect of company content that flows throughout the internet—is continuously exposed to users throughout the web. To become a cultural phenomenon; there has to be a significant outreach throughout the internet. Since there is a considerable variation of content available; the likelihood rises for just one fans piece of creative content to be impressionable enough to entice the masses with its particular charm.
It isn’t only exclusive to well-established companies to generate virality due to their social presence; it ultimately comes down to the activity within the social media nexus—all that is needed is dedicated fanbases to create upheaval and attention with their contributions to content.
Consider the video game genre of ‘Battle Royale’ for example; a relatively new game type within the video game landscape—was established by indie video game developers that lacked the notoriety and marketing teams of a triple-A, video game company. Starting with relatively low fan bases—the indie companies encouraged social events and rewards to users who produced cultural content such as live streams and videos of their games. By establishing close-knit connections with the content creators, there was more information circulating this new genre within video game communities.
Fortnite, a video game that amasses over 250 million players in March 2019, from under 1 million back in 2017; illustrates virality in effect that capitalised on a cultural phenomenon of the ‘Battle Royale’ genre and its predecessors’ efforts in supporting cultural content.
Just as the game released, many talented players within this competitive multiplayer genre had already picked up the game and started live streaming or uploading videos of their gameplay. Clips, live streams and videos that showcased talent, personality and attractive game mechanics; all played their role in grasping the casual users’ attention to the video game indirectly. Some users of social media are simply drawn to the personality of certain content creators and if the content creator showcases a companies product due to there interest in it—in return, creates awareness of the product to there audience.
The genre from the very beginning has established a history of encouraging cultural content and is kept alive by these companies, continually finding ways to promote and endorse cultural content. In my own experience, I am bombarded with information around Fortnite upon any social media platform I visit to seek information within the gaming community. Even by browsing the Fortnite official twitter page, you can find the company platforming various cultural content through the use of events and shout-outs.
The internet today is closely becoming a mirror of our physical reality. Web 2.0, the framework of the present-day internet; enables our messages to be constructed lucidly with substantial levels of detail—stemming from animation, video production and 3D manipulation. We now can represent multi-faceted messages the way we imagined.
As humans, we are drawn to detail; from mountainous landscapes, cinematic movies to monumental landmarks like cathedrals. We are not only attracted to visual material, but we raise our interest in an object, based upon the depth of detail it carries and the level of clarity it is conveyed in.
This perfectly ascribes to web content of today. Let’s take for example; The Rosselli hotel in Malta that I had recently produced a profile on. It is a 5-star hotel with its main claim to fame being the sheer level of detail appointed to the classical baroque architecture of the hotel. To disseminate this message of the hotel’s key selling point, Rosselli’s official website emphatically plasters visual materials that showcase the various levels of detail of the hotel itself.
To further enhance the visual material, more depth and clarity is included with the carefully placed sub-text by images that match contextually. An attention to nuance is considered through allocating a layout and theme that matches popular cultural ideals of conveying a message that highlights tranquillity and luxury; in this case—a combination of minimalism and romanticism.
Despite the carefully showcased pieces of the hotel; consumers in this field want a detailed yet accurate viewing of the hotel in its entirety—Rosselli achieved this action through implementing a 360 virtual tour of the hotel on their website. This system allows users to freely view all angles of the hotel by accessing the tour from the comforts of their screens.
It’s the pinnacle of visual marketing; anywhere in the world, users can see a pure visual rendition of your product; particularly important when the selling point of the product is a place of visit.
In essence; credibility through social media must factor in the combination of web 2.0 customizability and cultural content. As you customise your platform for your brand, products or services—refer and give recognition to review culture that encompasses them.
Users are super conscious of other’s experiences with company products and services—with the new age of social media; reviews and approval have become the determining factor for consumers.
The motifs of implementation by companies are carried out in two particular fashions. Firstly, on the official or primary platforms for company representation—quotes, signs of approval and certification from well-established and reputable review companies—are boldly placed to capture the attention of users; firmly instilling credibility.
One example of this is by companies within the entertainment industry. When a company releases an official trailer for a new video game or movie; it becomes apparent at the beginning or at the end of the trailers that they include a star or number ratings from renown review companies. It also typically includes a small quote to positively capture and frame the entirety of their experience with the entertainment piece; which is only plausible due to the establishments’ credible history and power within review culture.
Secondly, allow features for users to input reviews, which gradually builds reputability for your product or service due to a variety of personal users that engaged in the discussions; cancelling out common concerns of being a scammer due to the lack of data and experience with your company.
Responding to reviews is another positive way to clear up misunderstandings with users—carefully defending you and your product. It too highlights a company willing to take responsibility and dedication to improve; further encapsulating your company as a beacon of engagement. You would be supporting a positive community which will help grow your consumer base and reinforce a progressive aptitude within the ever-evolving, capitalist market as a whole.