Today, people seem more divided than ever before. Many discussions seem to shift toward who and what is right and who or what is wrong. People’s impressions are very sensitive to this and sharing an opinion can very quickly escalate into an argument. Even amongst with friends. And online, this all happens at social media speeds.
Although there seems to be an overwhelming negativity, people are still hopeful that, even with its’ flaws, social media can really help to heal these divisions and reconnect people with one another as it did when it began. We all know that social media can connect people, and most of us want brands to use social media to bring us back together. Because of this, brands are finding themselves in a great position to boost connections between people online.
Consumers desire a greater connection with the brands they like as well as with each other. The brands benefit when they open the door for these connections on social. Some brands can establish relevant relationships with consumers by acting as connectors first and sellers second.
Brands are certainly no strangers to social. But, for the most part, they have now only begun to appreciate the value of connecting with consumers and utilizing social as more than just a channel for promotion.
Today, consumer’s expectations from brands are very high. They want brands to be connectors. That can mean encouraging a connection with their own customers or even bringing people together that may have different viewpoints.
It’s not only about a brand’s popularity. The audience size and pageviews can make a difference, but they don’t say much about consumer opinion or why someone stays loyal to a particular company. A growing number of followers, for example, doesn’t identify why someone feels an attachment to a specific brand or if a shopper is truly loyal to one business over another. Consumers tend to pair feeling connected with trust and they feel connected when a certain brand’s values align with their own. Their relationship with a brand starts when they feel the brand understands them and their preferences.
Social media provides brands the greatest opportunity to truly connect with their audiences. It also gives them the opportunity to connect people who may be at polar-opposite ends when it comes to opinions on life in general. They can bring them all together.
As the demand for connections grows stronger, consumers are seeing brands in a new light. Brands are now surfacing as leaders, with a greater focus on building relationships with their consumers. The sharp pivot away from an emphasis on selling enables them to further differentiate themselves, from their competition.
But there remain slippery slopes, because for every push there is a pull and for every ying, there is a yang. So, how these companies skate across this dangerous ice, can be the difference of making it from end to end or falling through the ice.