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Brands’ relationship status: Engaged to Social Media

The year 2014 has been a roller coaster ride for brand advertising experts in the industry as they decoded new and innovative strategies in the digital marketing space. The most intriguing ones often included brand building on social media platforms.

Following the growth of mobile internet users in India which is expected to reach 173 million by the end of December 2014, marketers are devising strategies to leverage this large chunk of population which is accessing the internet services through their handheld devices.

Every blog post, video, photo, comment or update on the social media platform is an opportunity for the brands to connect with a wider audience through a low cost model. Further, social media also provides a richer experience to the consumers which are likely to lead to better levels of conversions to revenue for the brand.

“Ecommerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart create the ecosystem before the purchase of the product but social media is crucial for after sale brand loyalty,” said Nishant Jain, Chief Executive Officer of Designforuse.

Brands create officially verified accounts on Twitter and pages on Facebook to amplify their presence in the digital market space. They want to ensure that the social media user is aware of the existence of the brand and platforms like Twitter and Facebook enable them to interact with the brand as well. They ensure that the consumer is connected to the brand even after the purchase has been made.

Brands also launch various digital and social media campaign on these platforms to ensure sound level of brand engagement with the consumer. Such campaigns and contests serve as a platform for people to have conversation around the brand and enhance its recognition among other consumers.

Daman Soni, Business Head India, LINE PLUS Corporation said they help in app discovery of the brand as they have come up with brand related stickers which lead to engagement with the user of the messaging platform.

Nevertheless, Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer at Bang In the Middle brings a different viewpoint and says that brands who believe that brand building on social media will give them sound return on investment, are mistaken.

“Most of the testimonials that you see on official social media accounts of a brand are filled with complaints regarding the product or the service offered by the brand. To maintain excitement around the brand for a sustained period of time, continuous interaction with the consumer from the brand is required,” he added.

Furthermore, many argue that the relationship with the brand starts way before the purchase is made by the consumer. Marketing is more about creating a brand resonance with the consumer rather than after-sale brand loyalty. Marketers need to clearly differentiate between a buy-sell platform and social media and employ relevant strategy to reach out to the internet connected consumer.