Socializing, connecting, and maintaining relationships are the aspects that characterize social networks the most, and it is precisely these that the pandemic has hindered. To address this, brands need to ensure that they include a social component on their platforms, in their apps on their channels. Communities are key - but they are not limited to the main social network platforms.
Many brands are now building their own internal social networks, with applications that have internal forums and features, in order to regain control of their audiences. A decentralized social network presents an infrastructure without a central server and without any company to manage the server site. The coming year will see brands continue to pioneer the world of customer experience with increased social interaction.
In 2022, consumers will continue to interact on social networking platforms like Instagram and Facebook. However, we may begin to see more and more brands incorporate social elements into the user experience they offer, particularly in the areas of travel, payment, and navigation. When consumers are able to interact with their social groups within an app, engagement and retention generally increase. No longer do you have to go to your favorite social network to report a dead-end or say "Thanks" to a friend who paid for the restaurant the night before. These apps now make it possible.
What do the experts think?
"Faced with a constant decline in reach discreetly desired by the platforms and the instability of their algorithms, brands want to regain control over their communities by diversifying with social features on their sites and other newsletters. A way to deplatform." Jonathan Chan, Community Manager of Dentsu France & iProspect, member of the Web Brigade.
"By offering tools that allow their customers to become ambassadors and influencers, brands develop loyalty, encourage the act of buying and impact their image. Brands have realized that repatriating these exchanges to their platforms allows them to capitalize and control their community's communications." Joël Gaudeul, CRO at Hivency.
Brand Campaign Example: Venmo's e-reputation goes into high gear
Venmo, the ever-popular mobile payment service, manages to keep its community engagement by allowing users to connect with each other and converse with each other. And that engagement continues on the brand's social media channels. The tweet below, which reveals the ability to add emoticons to transactions, has generated more than 1,200 engagements.
The reasons why consumers love payment apps like Venmo were examined, and it was deduced that in addition to appreciating donation and crowdfunding initiatives, customers also like the ability to quickly share payments to give visibility to certain causes.
Other consumers also cited the ability to maintain social contact when making transfers for friends, family or causes that are important to them.
How do consumers create the trend?
Consumers don't just expect a simple service, they also want to be able to interact, engage and communicate. For brands, this means enabling these interactions either off-site (on forums and social networks) or within their own platform. In doing so, brands will be able to better shape the conversations they are the subject of while gathering valuable data and information about their consumer base. It is in your best interest to integrate a social element into your products or platform in the coming years, as this will benefit the development of a brand community.
Keyword phrases based on mentions of Venmo, demonstrating the positive image the brand has with consumers. July 2021-August 2021, Talkwalker, Consumer Intelligence Platform
How can you integrate these trends into your brand strategy?
Consumers want to connect:
If you're going to add a social aspect to your brand, don't overdo it. Look to your audience's interactions on the social media platforms they prefer to identify the type of social element they might want from your brand. Leverage user information and make a list of your competitors and industry leaders to see how everyone is doing.
Centralize your customer data:
Building a strong community also means collecting all available consumer data to get a more complete picture of what your audience wants. This will help you shape your messages and strategy.
The ultimate benchmark whether you plan to add a comment section or expand the capabilities of a message board, user experience is crucial. Consumers are likely to quit the game at the slightest hitch.
Stay mindful of control, content, and censorship:
A brand-specific social network brings a number of advantages, but also disadvantages that should not be overlooked. Users will have more control and be less passive about censoring their content. And user-generated content will be king.