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Social media has revolutionized the way brands engage their audiences. Smart advertisers know consumers live their lives online and increasingly are flocking to conversational media platforms—not just as a means to connect with peers but also as a source for trusted information on where to go and what to buy. Yet despite social media’s ability to attract an engaged audience, the rapid growth of this medium has made the proposition of branding online more confusing than ever—in a fragmented online world, where does your target audience live?
While there is no perfect formula, you can figure out a strategy for any brand to capitalize on the passionate audiences that are the hallmark of social media—you just need to take time to understand which conversations they are a part of, use this data to inform your campaign, and measure the results. Here are a few ideas to get you on the path to social media success:
1. Know your audience. Determine where the conversations most relevant to your brand and business are happening online (there are tools and targeting platforms that will help you do this), and use that information to deliver targeted offers and messages to those audiences.
2. Determine the players. Know the sites leading the conversations that have the most sway over your audience (be it a blog or YouTube celebrity). Take the time to get to know your influencers and follow and participate in those conversations.
3. Measure your success. One of the historical challenges of online branding is the lack of measurement available—most brand advertisers agree that tracking clicks on banner ads isn’t the best assessment of an ad’s impact. The good news is that conversational media has paved the way for new metrics: In addition to traditional measurement tools, brands can now track things like conversation growth over the course of a branding campaign.
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