What Makes a Brand Social?

npr_logoAuthenticity in social media eludes many brands. Engaging their audiences in a manner that resonates with their beliefs and interests is a difficult task, but an important one for creating brand advocates. Simply creating social presences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram doesn’t mean you’ve “gone social.”

National Public Radio (NPR) is a great example of a brand that understands its audience and provides content designed to build engagement through value and delight. Their Digital Services group proved this with an experiment last year where they offered geo-targeted content to readers on their Facebook page, personalizing and localizing the news reading experience.

NPR paid close attention to which pieces of local content resonated with readers (through Likes, Shares and Comments) and which did not. They began with a single station in Seattle, before expanding to five in different regions. The insights they gleaned from follow user behavior allowed them to develop content categories and determine the types of content their audiences were more likely to engage with.

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They accomplished several things with this experiment:

  1. NPR leveraged their Facebook presence to drive traffic back to their site.
  2. They used the viral nature of social media to expose their content to an extended audience through Likes and Shares.
  3. Most importantly, NPR used social media to deduce how to best serve their audience.

In turn their audience increased the value they derived from the brand simply by engaging with the content.

Social media has created an opportunity for true one-to-one, real time relationships with customers and brand advocates. Brands that understand and take advantage of this opportunity are truly social.

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