Tag Archives: social media

The benefits of curiosity for branding on social media

pexels-photo-128299.jpg“I’m not interested in a brand if it doesn’t do something spectacular on social media; I just don’t see a reason to follow” (from a random conversation with my students)

When a business wants to stimulate discussion on social media, it is important to keep in mind that consumers’ interests in brands are often motivated by curiosity.

“It’s just curiosity. You never know what that link might give you. It might give you a piece of information of business that you need for yourself” (research participant).

I’ve got a nut allergy and a beautiful Anzac recipe was posted up on one of the chefs I follow. And I asked a question, do I need to substitute it with more flour to make it more balanced, and she [the chef] got back straight away and said: “No, it’s fine you don’t have to”. I was genuinely interested, and I was curious to see also how quick they’d respond, what their response would be” (research participant).

It can be suggested that social media helps brands to supply the ingredient that seems to be missing in traditional marketing communications – curiosity keeps the conversation going, stimulates and encourages participation, and creates a conversation that potentially may get good press down the line. The recent and much publicised white/gold/blue/black dress mystery illustrates how social media use curiosity as a hook. The story started on Tumblr and took Twitter and Facebook by storm – everyone felt a need to discover what was going on. The debate surrounding the dress – whether the stripes were white and gold, or blue and black – attracted much attention from journalists, scientists, and celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, who tweeted “the dress is gonna start world war 3”.

(Piven, I. & Breazeale, M. (2016). A desperately seeking customer engagement: Five-Sources Model of brand consumption in social media community. In V. Benson, R. Tuninga, &  G. Saridakis (Eds.), Analyzing strategic role of social networking in firms growth and productivity. UK: IGI Global.)

If our life experiences are pointless without being broadcast over social media.

blog_1January and February are peak travel periods for New Zealand. Can you guess what would be the most important daily routine in tour guiding work?  It is to ensure that tourists are able to charge their devices (cameras, mobile phones, etc). Why? Because they may want to cancel a scheduled tour if their devices are not ready to explicitly document their adventures. That is exactly what happened last year when my company’s clients called a whale watching tour off.

Some time ago I researched relationships between businesses and consumers on social media. One result that has come through vividly is that our consumption practices take on a new meaning in the digital age  – without being broadcast over social media, they are pointless. How does it apply to businesses?

Supporting consumers’ desire for self-presentation/expression has certain benefits for businesses, particularly when it comes to branding. For example, KiwiYo, a fast-growing chain of frozen desserts in New Zealand, blurs the line between its offline and online presence: photos taken by consumers in the cafe go to the company’s social media profiles in KiwiYo’s colorful promotional picture frames. KISS, an iconic American rock band, is famous for allowing their fans to display their photos on the stage jumbo screens, as well as on social media during the band’s performance. According to KISS’ website, they were the first band to experiment with “interactive concert photo experiences” (KISS debuts “KISS Liveshare”, 2010).

It seems logical to conclude that if business does not offer their consumers an opportunity for self-expression, then it might be wasting time on social media. In this respect, the ultimate goal for any business, regardless of industry, is to provide consumers with personalised experiences. Here is how:

  • Learn what makes consumers engage with a brand. There are numerous personal and professional reasons. Use this knowledge to change approaches to social media content and conversations.
  • Turn consumer-brand interactions into “red carpet” or “award ceremony” experiences by taking advantage of modern technologies in conjunction with social media.

(Piven, I. & Breazeale, M. (2016). A desperately seeking customer engagement: Five-Sources Model of brand consumption in social media community. In V. Benson, R. Tuninga, &  G. Saridakis (Eds.), Analyzing strategic role of social networking in firms growth and productivity. UK: IGI Global.)