At ad:tech, Cheryl Stallworth, CEO North America of Firefly, talked about a social media study the firm conducted in which it explored consumer expectation of brands.
"The thing that was interesting is that when it comes to people who are fairly sophisticated....there are a lot of similarities around the world," she said. "Regardless of the level of market development, you find very, very sophisticated social media users."
"The barriers are going to come down," she declared. Barriers will be limited to things like literacy and Internet connections. The point is that everyone is using it, and they're talking about brands.
"Now consumers have the microphone, and they're gonna tell you what they want, and they're gonna interact on their own terms," she said. "They [marketers] see the value, but they're not quite sure how to engage. "'Maybe my brand isn't cool enough' is what they're saying..."
That fact is that brand management teams, she said, are "lacking best practices, and they're really lacking guidelines. They feel like they're on the outside looking in."
Many of these marketers and brand managers are simply jumping on the social media bandwagon, without really knowing what to do, Stallworth said. This is not going to lend to a lot of credibility or effectiveness in strategy.
In other words, it's time to get your stuff together. Social media's not new and shiny anymore. The longer you wait to develop a real strategy, the worse your brand is going to look and your credibility will diminish. There's no one strategy. You have to find yours. I'm sure you can find plenty of ideas online. Here's a few to get your started.
To put brand social media into perspective, Stallworth shared some wise words: "To connect is to belong. To belong is to believe. To believe is to maybe consider...If I'm considering you then maybe I'm going to think about buying you."