Chapter 12

Mutual Priorities

There is probably nothing brands want more from social media than to have consumers talk about them. Unfortunately, most consumers do not share this view. The majority of global executives surveyed by IBM believe that social will increase customer advocacy.1 Yet fewer than one in four consumers agree.

In traditional marketing, brands provide information that reflects their priorities. They create content, find an audience, place a media buy, and broadcast messages that attempt to sell their products or services. For their part, consumers increasingly want to get information that reflects their priorities. It is not that they refuse to be sold to, but at the very least, they want brands to be transparent about it.2

In Sync

The challenge for brands, then, is to sync priorities by learning how to take part in conversations that spark audiences' interests. Occasionally, they get lucky and ignite something, but luck is not a sustainable strategy. Brands that consistently succeed do so because they know how to square their prerogatives with consumers' behaviors and expectations. Despite several previous chapters explaining why many of the old rules of marketing no longer apply to social, there are still a few that do. One of them is: Use the right channel for the right message.

Most social followership comes from consumers who have an existing relationship with a brand.3 They are either current users or former users who have had positive experiences and ...

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