As strange as it may seem, we created RingCentral Engage before Facebook or Twitter even appeared in Europe. Brands today have widely adopted these social platforms to promote their image and increase visibility. At the same time, some brands have also created online communities that complement their official social media presence.
The questions brands need to ask are, “Where do we need to be?” and “Do we have to use every online channel?”
Back to the basics of the physical world
What are the 3 main criteria for choosing a house or opening a store?
According to conventional wisdom, the answer is “location, location, location!“
In principle, best practices would suggest that you:
1. Open a shop on a shopping street
2. Distribute your products through a distributor specializing in your market
3. Open a “shop-in-shop” inside a department store
There are different reasons for pursuing these three options:
1. Building/strengthening your image and having direct contact with your customers
2. Benefiting from the distributor’s client base
3. Benefiting from the customer traffic and image of the department store.
The same holds true for digital marketing and social media.
1. You create a brand community (equivalent to a flagship store on the Champs Elysées), which figures among the first Google search results. The space must be attractive, the customer experience meticulously designed and controlled. Your community should also contribute to the organic ranking of your website and increase user registrations that will grow your marketing database.
2. As for distributed conversations, you participate in forums for the verticals/specialty areas related to your sector of activity. You benefit from their traffic and draw the attention of interested potential clients to your brand.
3. What are the “department stores” of the online world? Names like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TripAdvisor come immediately to mind. You benefit from the prestige of these “places” and their high traffic. You hope to draw some of their visitors to your flagship. However, you don’t have much control; it’s the owner of the place who defines the customer experience and has access to the customer data.
Does this mean you should create your own solution, or depend on the platforms built by the “online leaders”?
The answer is simple: you have to have a presence everywhere to maximize your opportunities to come in contact with your target.
But the most important thing is to keep your eye on the prize: you can’t build your brand image through a third party, you can’t maintain a close relationship with customers on a crowded forum, and you can’t give your customer data to a company that sells such data. On the other hand, you cannot grow your business without search engine rankings, and you must prove that you are keeping up with the times by embracing the tools people are using, etc.
Flagships, shop-in-shops and department stores: as you can see, finding new points of contact is simple!
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