As a marketer, responding to and supporting our brands and communities on social media in times of turmoil is critical. In a crisis such as the pandemic, brands need to offer their audiences support and education in the social sphere. While on social media sites such as Twitter, brands usually enjoy seeing the proper hashtags trending. However, like Sabyasachi, Fabindia, Tanishq, Zomato, and Eros Now have discovered, they can sometimes become popular for the wrong reasons.
Some of these firms have had to take down their advertising and publish clarifications and apology notes as a result of passionate criticism. So where did their marketing go wrong?
At a time when every touchpoint matters to consumers, a public misstep on social media can have a devastating impact on a brand’s reputation. Consumers are anxious right now, and brands are operating at a time when channels like social media are amplifying the backlash against botched communications.
To bridge the gap between what consumers expect and what brands actually deliver, brands should rethink their social media policies and approach to moderating social media. Like any other form of good marketing, the success of brands on social media comes down to understanding consumers behaviour and giving users what they want.
While all other types of media allow a brand to communicate with a consumer, digital is the only channel that allows consumers to communicate with brands. As a result, not only social media advertising but also TV, radio, print, and outdoor campaigns can cause blowback on social media.
With rising divisiveness and easily provoked consumers, marketers will have to tread carefully when formulating their messages. Brands cater to a wide range of customers, and what appears to be a reasonable viewpoint to one customer may appear partisan and skewed to another. These concerns can quickly spin out of control in today’s environment. This is a big problem that businesses must deal with. While firms and brand custodians must be sensitive so as not to upset any segments unnecessarily, this should not prevent them from doing what is right, even if it has short-term commercial consequences. It is critical for businesses and brands to respect public opinion.
Brands need to focus on promoting the products and services they offer, based on their merits, and not on grand-standing or wokeism inspired social messages advocating a behavioural change which is mostly a recipe for disaster.
Consumers purchase brands because of the trust they have gained and the desire they have sparked. And customers support companies they believe are representative of their own identities. If brands aren’t authentic to themselves, they won’t have any personality traits to hammer on for a real engagement with their target audience.
As a result, when a brand responds to trolling because of misdirected campaigns in a way that is not conducive to the consumer’s personality (whether for a legitimate cause or not), consumers become disillusioned with the brand and may stop buying or subscribing to it.
Mastering Social Media Marketing has a steep learning curve, but the time you need to learn how consumers tick, who they follow and how to relax will help you think about which social networks and platforms best fit your brand. The ability to adapt your brand marketing strategy to the needs of consumers is the difference between thriving and dying out. For brands to survive in a post-pandemic world they need to rethink their marketing to avoid advertising problems.