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The Value Proposition and Value Exchange in Social Media

Posted by John Horniblow on Aug 23, 2009 in Consumer Relationship Marketing, General, Social Media Marketing |

written for and reposted from http://blog.label.ch

Like good old fashioned direct to consumer communications such as CRM, Social Media Marketing is also about managing the relationships between a brand and its consumers and the consumer expectations of that brand. The shift in the relationship from direct to dialogue is the key difference between the two. In many recent iterations of CRM the shift to dialogue has also become the norm. The principals behind CRM and Social Media Marketing (SMM) are in fact the same, managing and nurturing relationship through a value proposition or value exchange. Whether it’s an actual product, entertainment, services, dialogue or even intangible forms of social currency such as inside information or a virtual asset, consumers expect more from brands today, and they expect it for free. The key to sustaining the relationship is to manage the expectations of the brand in the consumer interaction with the brand. This management needs to be supported beyond the experience of consumption or use to include the experience of consumer services and other brand associations as well.

The brand benefits of CRM and Social Marketing Programs are obvious.  Value exchange creates loyalty and potentially advocacy – By providing a benefit you will be most successful if you also consider the value expectations of your audience. Providing value will ensure your customers continue engaging with your brand in the social landscape. In the sense of making brand advocates of your consumers your exchange might even inspire them to share the value you provide with others.

In terms of marketing communications, many of your online ‘friends’ or fans will only remain a ‘friend’ as long as you keep providing a value exchange in your services, content, newsletters, tweets or updates. The same value exchange already exists in other services that include loyalty programs, memberships and clubs where there are high levels of consumer interaction and the value of being involved has tangible rewards. Its also good to remember that these activities sometimes have a high cost.  Even if you are on smaller programs of involvement the exchange still needs to be in place, small tokens of appreciation always work well.

The ubiquitous social term ‘friend’ should not be mistaken as being similar to friends in the real world. The value of exchange needs to be balanced and considered for the long-term relationship. Short term goals or sales in favour of a brand might not sustain a relationship with its  circle of friends. Brands cannot assume that they have a bond of friendship strong enough to get away with delivering content that benefits the brand alone or doesn’t maintain the relationship. This one way relationship will not work online anymore. So if someone becomes your online ‘friend’ it is the brand that needs to earn the friendship and nurture the relationship, not them. Make sure you continue to deliver value of service, content etc in your exchange with your online ‘friends’ or they will move onto other ‘friends’ ready to give them attention.

So what benefits and value are you providing for your consumers beyond your product?

This blog is published and maintained by John Horniblow AKA BladeDigital ™ : On the Cutting Edge

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