Social Networks in Enhancing Brand Equity
Momore Owolabi is an intern with Cogniko LLC. He shares his thoughts around the use of Social Networks in Enhancing Brand Equity.
Although the internet has been around since the 70s, it wasn’t until recent years that with the help of social networks, it has blown up. It’s networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat that have led the charge in recent years. Over the last decade, social networks have changed the way that we as people operate and share information with our respected audiences. Millions of people log on to these networks every day to get their daily information, whether it be world news, sports updates or to reconnect with friends and family. Over time, social networks have become a trend, and now companies and organizations can use them as a means of communication. Social networks provide the opportunity for companies to reach a greater audience and expand their business in a way that hasn’t been done before. Due to the quick response to customer problems, whether they are positive or negative, that social networks offer to companies, it provides the perfect opportunity to interact and provide content in a fast and cost-effective way. After customers, a company’s brand and its client interaction is its most valuable resource. For that reason, social networks play a very important role in the development of brand equity.
What is Brand Equity?
As defined by David Aakres, an American consultant, brand equity is seen as a set of assets (and liabilities) linked to a brand's name and symbol that adds to (or subtracts from) the value provided by a product or service to a firm and/or that firm's customers. Aakres believes that brand equity is divided into four dimensions - brand loyalty, brand awareness, brand associations, and perceived quality. All four provide value to a firm in numerous ways. Brand loyalty is a profound dedication to continuously buy a specific product or service. This can give a company multiple advantages such as, the customer feels an emotional connection with the brand, trading leverage, lower marketing costs, and interest from new customers through word of mouth of present customers who have already proved loyalty and are proud of the service they are receiving. Brand awareness is whether a customer can recognize the brand and how fast your brand pops into their heads when specific products are mentioned in conversation. Brand awareness is important because it creates associations, puts your brand ahead of others, and affects customer choices. “71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family.” (Forbes, 2018)
Building Brand Equity with Social Networks
If you intend to build your company or organization’s brand equity, it is important to make developing your brand’s awareness your top priority. Establishing brand awareness early on will give your branch a head start in the competitive market regardless of the quality of your product or service compared to your respective competitors.
An effective method to increase brand awareness is through social network advertising. According to GlobalWebIndex, “More than 40% of digital consumers use social networks to research new brands or products.” Since brand awareness can’t be built through your everyday advertisements or campaigns, social network platforms have made reaching audiences easier. Even though the traditional campaigns are bound to increase exposure, you have to understand how to target specific age demographics based on their preferred social networks.
Based on the demographics you plan to target, knowing how they receive information will maximize your return. When you’ve selected a preferred age group, you can find what networks they visit frequently and connect with them through paid advertising. Social networks were created to ease interaction, support, and distribution of important information so it is appropriate for companies to use them to share information with potential customers.
Another efficient way to spread brand awareness is by humanizing your social content. The time of presenting content professionally has become outdated. The average person spends two hours and twenty-two minutes on social networks in which they spend less than thirty seconds looking at a post. None of them desire to spend that time reading corporate clutter. People prefer to interact with a brand that portrays an actual person. Building more engaging content that reads as an actual person helps create more brand awareness. A great example of businesses that have implemented this is Old Spice with their commercial and Wendy’s, which use humor to respond to customers on Twitter. Companies can even use social networks to hold contests and ask customers about their experiences with the brand.
Social Customer Service
With the increased interaction with customers on social networks, having social customer service will not only benefit your business but your customers. Implementing social customer service will put your brand on the frontline and show customers how much you appreciate their opinion. It makes your customers feel a sense of comfort and importance. Instead of having your customers sit and wait through difficult conversations over the phone and email, your call center employees could easily be trained to assist customers through your social networks. This will give your customers a faster and possibly more efficient service with your brand or product. Because your company is on the frontlines, they can catch wind of any potential issue and reach out to customers to fix the issue. By responding quickly and improving the customer’s social experience, the views of your brand from the customer and the audience watching will be positive. “Answering a social media complaint can increase customer advocacy by as much as 25%.” (Convince and Convert).
The Time Is Now
“54% of Social browsers use social networks to research products and services” (GlobalWebIndex). With those bizarre numbers, it will naive to not start expand your brand on social networks. Now is the time to grow your brand. Every day, the cost per click for social network advertising is constantly increasing. Ranging from a minimum of $0.97 on Facebook, $3.56 on Instagram, $3.21 on Youtube and $0.38 on Twitter.
Building brand equity will take much effort but in the long run it will positively benefit the growth of your company. In today’s world, using social networks to enhance your brand equity is the best modern way. After you've built your brand equity, you will notice that your company is better connected with the audience and generating more recognition. Gary Vaynerchuk, aka “Gary Vee “, once said, “More content, more brand. That’s how you grow…...brand is the ultimate leverage”. Now is the time to grow your brand