“Social media includes websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” (Oxford dictionaries)
Social media has moved the brand building task from top management to everyone inside and outside of the firm. Customers and stakeholders have become co-producers in creating image and value to the brand and interaction between stakeholders has decreased the companys role in brand building process.
In todays world people spend more time on internet than ever and according to studies 74% of all adults online use social media networking sites. It is important to realize and not underestimate the power of social media. Consumers and all stakeholders share their thoughts, opinions and experiences with each other and with firms and it doesn’t even matter is it true or not. And all this happens fast and globally.
Variety of brands is large, so other people’s opinions matters when consumer is choosing the brand. Even tiny misunderstanding can destroy the whole brand image so firms need to understand the power of social media. Customers can spread all over the internet false or true negative experiences and thoughts about company and firm need to know how to act when things like this happens and even better to prepare themselves and act before permanent damage is done.
When using social media right, firms can benefit from it gaining value to the brand. Maria Vernuccio’s research called “Communicating Corporate Brands Through Social Media: An Exploratory Study” includes 60 international corporate brands and compares their interactivity and openness in different social media platforms. To become “confident communicator”, as Vernuccio calls them, companys social media strategy needs to be high in interactivity and high in openness. The study shows that those who are confident communicators have strong brand value and 60% of those brands are ranked between 1st and 20th in Interbrand ranking. Results show aspects what need to be focused on when developing corporates social media strategies in brand building process: 1. all types of social media are used 2. dialogue, not monologue 3. engagement of all stakeholders
So, when firms understand the power of social media and with interactivity and openness in all types of social media, can firms with help of customers create value to the brand worldwide, around the clock and manage to avoid destroying the brand.