Humanizing a brand requires social media authenticity, and few easily discover the way. The task of finding a voice may seem daunting and many brands find if increasingly difficult to sustain, per Matt Ipcar, executive creative director at Blue State Digital.
Authenticity becomes much more difficult to deliver, compared with a polished advertising campaign, because marketers need to adjust their thinking on the fly. Speaking at the MediaPost OMMA Social conference Tuesday, Ipcar laid out some tips on ways to become and stay nonintrusive on social. Ask users questions to keep conversations going, even in lull times.
Ipcar described an interesting Facebook campaign on behalf of Ford in which the brand asks fans to describe what their license plate might read if it belonged on a Ford. The campaign on Facebook received more than 7,000 Likes. "People took out their phones and took pictures of their personalized license plates," he said. "We weren't expecting photos. We asked for them, but expected funny things instead."
Ford's social campaign became less about getting someone to go out and buy a Ford and more about the branding and making the connection with consumers.
Embracing imperfections can also work on behalf of brands, as long as the conversation remains authentic. Seeding community enthusiasts with topics can help to keep conversations going. If people are taking selfies, brands may want to develop a social campaign geared toward their products and services. Some brands have begun to direct message consumers in Instagram, a feature that launched late last year, to create personal messages, Ipcar said.
Features are continually added and dropped on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, and consumers continually change the way they use social sites. "Don't forget about your Web site," Ipcar said, adding that many things happen on social, but social changes quickly. "You might have to change your entire ad buy or campaign strategy built on Facebook if they change it."
Don't become boring or offensive. Many of the same required social skills that parents taught kids on how to cope in the real world apply online, but not all use them. Don't focus on too many platforms. It may sound logical, but don't forget about ROI, Ipcar said.