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Can brands use social media?

September 2, 2008

The answer is yes. I follow @wholefoods, and they do a wonderful job with a blog (the Whole Story), a YouTube channel, the Twitter feed, podcasts — they are all over social media.

But it is the brand, not a person. Look at this “tweet”

@xogobobeanx I believe there is seating in the Chelsea store. Their # is 212.924.5969 – one of us can call and double check.🙂

Take a look at the language. “…one of us can call”. Often in social media, the band is the plural we. Even on this blog, we like to think of ourselves as we, and we’re definitely only an I.

Anyway, this all comes on the heels of a conversation I had on Twitter with someone who I think is very smart. She said:

“brands don’t engage w/ customers. companies (thru employees) engage w/ customers. anthropomorphizing a brand = less substantive dialogue.”

To which I responded:

@nejsnave: I think you’re right to a certain extent. But if someone says “I love brand”, that one has the ability to transcend.

My point being that people love brands. not the people behind the brands, but the brands. There are many pages on Facebook filled with Fans of brands. And they are willing to have conversations. Jen responded with:

@mhames momentary or promotional engagement (ie attention engagement) yes. but ongoing engagement needs a planned LT narrative or real ppl.

I think this is right. I think that a brand could appoint a person, as in the case of ChrisBatDell. He speaks on behalf of Dell and is clearly a person. The other idea is have a committee that speaks on behalf of the brand.

Either one can work. And even though this example uses Twitter, it isn’t specific to this one execution. One could use these two routes with any social media tool. From an agency perspective, the latter is clearly the more attractive option because it will be the agency team at the helm.

If the client hires someone to do their Twitter feed and their blog, ie their own social media campaign, then the agency is out of luck. And thus, to lobby for the latter means offering up a planned narrative along with planned goals.

It will come down to the agency having to explain why they’re better suited for the job.

And yes, there’s a person at the other end, and there are times when that person’s identity comes through loud and clear. Like in this example from Dell.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2008 8:22 am

    Matt:

    Excellent article, and thanks for the recognition. =)

    I know as I’ve encouraged others to become more involved with Twitter and other online social media platforms, I’ve stressed the need to engage by simply being yourself and “real”.

    @LionelatDell
    @RichardatDELL
    @APaxtonatDell

    Are just a few of the many employees here at Dell that can also be found online and engaged in conversations.

    Chris

  2. September 5, 2008 8:51 pm

    Thanks Chris. @RichardatDELL once commented here. I use the things your doing as something to emulate for some of our brands.

Trackbacks

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