Note: This post is part of a current series for both B2Bs and B2Cs that explores 10 (Essential!) Rules That No Marketer Should Pass The "Web 2.0 Go" Without. All posts in the series are archived here. In this post we illuminate:
Web 2.0 Rule #8: Social media gives people more control over brand messages... but marketers (still!) ultimately influence what those messages will be.
The tools of social media are empowering because they give everyone with access to the Web a voice. From corporate professionals to college students, seniors to teens and everyone in-between, people are flocking online and using these new tools to voice their passions, ideas, opinions and, yes, brand experiences.
All of these conversations equate to millions of brand-centric messages--both favorable and unfavorable--circulating across the Web every single day. And these messages are not just shared between two persons, but are amplified across entire communities that have hundreds, thousands or millions of members. Moreover, these messages "live on" since they are permanently indexed by search engines for still more people to view when researching brands. Thus, these messages serve to greatly influence brand perceptions... and while positive buzz can bolster brand awareness and profit, negative word-of-mouth can hurt brand reputations and revenues.
As a result, the level of control that Web 2.0 has transferred to the public at large has rocked marketers' foundations. This shell shock is understandable given that marketers have historically controlled what the message is, who it's heard by and where it's placed. Enter social media and that control is now (poof!) history.
So it's no surprise that we hear grave concern from marketers over "losing control!" of their brand's message. What is surprising, however, is how few marketers realize the tremendous level of power that they still have.
Marketers, you still hold the greatest level of influence over the messages that the public creates and spreads about your brands. Yes, YOU. The nature of these messages, be they positive or negative, is far more within your control than out of it. Why? Because your company is wholly and fully in control of the quality of its brands, customer care efforts and marketing programs.