Inbound marketing, where customers actively seek products and services to meet their needs, is the desirable form of brand interaction from the perspective of social media users. Yes, Virginia. Customers do want to be engaged with brands. But there is a caveat. Traditional (interrupting) marketing that is pushed by advertisers and marketers is often seen as an unwelcome intrusion, and frequently ignored.
Consumers want to know how they can interact with brands and are eager to engage with brands that, as Fluent: The Razorfish Social Influence Marketing Report puts it, "participate" or "do."
Ironically, according to Razorfish, consumers view branding on popular marketing channels (TV, radio, newspapers) as somewhat more trustworthy than branding efforts in social media contexts. The brand-trust / brand-affinity relationships are not simple ones, and they are rapidly evolving. Razorfish suggests several ways for marketers and advertisers to engage with social media users. Among their ideas are an increased focus on ads in social media channels that are:
Speaking Truth to Brands - What Inbound Marketing Can Tell You
A study titled Invoke Solutions, tells marketers that consumers expect brands to participate in social media channels, and they accept that participation. But consumers are not looking for a sales pitch -- or outbound marketing. The main driver of social media engagement is access to information and learning about new consumer goods. And social media participants want to share the information they gather. Ads placed in social media context that are contextualized -- made more relevant to the users digital experience -- take on a more inbound tone. Consumers stand ready to show marketers how to market better to them.
It's Called Inbound Marketing and Consumers Are Driving -- Move Over
Consumers are telling marketers what they want and they are insisting on driving the evolution of social media across different channels. Social media users want brands to use the social marketing channels to do the following:
- Listen to consumers who will evolve the marketing directed toward them
- Deliver better customer service as a result of social media feedback and opportunities
- Learn about and respond to unmet consumer needs
Social media users tend not to trust advertisers and marketers. Their suggestion: Give us something to show you care. If you are going to place ads in our social media contexts, design them to enhance and extend our social experience. Conventional display type ads don't do well in social media contexts, but "social ads" can and do. Pay attention to that inbound marketing. It's cheaper (and possibly better) than hiring a consultant.