The Cost of Creating Brand Affinity with Social Media

Creating brand affinity using social media is cheap and easy. All you need to do is throw your logo into a Facebook profile page, create a Twitter handle, get an intern to write some content and you’re good to go, right?

Actually, that’s not the case. While at the outset of the social marketing boom our lack of discipline and understanding may have made this seem true, customers are far more savvy and nuanced than that. In order to break through the cluttered space to the customer, a brand’s social media presence needs to be both strategic and deliberate—encompassing research, understanding, strategy, execution, and follow-through.

At its simplest, social media marketing can be broken down into two distinct arms—giving customers content, and having conversations with them. Both do the same thing: create brand affinity. The social space is crowded with brands and in order to be successful there you need to provide real, compelling value. Successfully participating on a social media platform entails—no, requires—being active and not passive—both engaging with customers by responding to concerns and comments, and providing relevant content to them. If you’re dormant but have a presence it can backfire, so strategy and forward thought is critical.

The activities outlined above have real costs associated with them: staff costs, external and third-party costs, tools and integration, the cost of the insights and research required to properly engage different audiences, and even advertising costs to kick start many campaigns.

The bottom line—generating real, tangible brand affinity with social media requires spending time and money. I came across this smart infographic from Focus that details The Real Cost of Social Media (specifically with regards to Twitter)—including costs that aren’t always considered when thinking about a social media campaign like staffing, advertising and analytics. It also includes a cost benefit analysis that says an investment in social media is worth it.

Check it out—and start thinking about how the concept of cost and effort translates across your entire social media initiatives.


2 thoughts on “The Cost of Creating Brand Affinity with Social Media

  1. This is very compelling, however, it would have been helpful to see how financial service companies such as AMEX, Visa, MasterCard, and even banks could optimize engagement.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Tina. That’s a great idea for a follow-on blog post – maybe we can dig deeper into how specific industries can maximize consumer engagement – or consumer understanding.

    One great way to optimize engagement is to be aware of customer attitudes and how consumers prefer to be engaged. The case studies below detail how two Communispace clients in the financial services industry were able to build their understandings of key customer groups.

    Bank of America:
    One of the first banks to recognize the need for a unique young adult platform, Bank of America used social media to understand millenials, helping the student segment become one of the fastest-growing segments in the bank and increased brand awareness, favorability, and consideration – all by double-digits.
    Case Study:

    Using a private online community to enable co-creation, IHG and Chase set out to create a credit card that connected with what their customers really valued. IHG and Chase won a Forrester Groundswell Award for their use of social media and its impact on their business.
    Case Study:

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