Social Brands 100 2013 Round Up: How Social Is Your Brand?

Russell Loarridge, Janrain’s Director of Customer Acquisition in Europe, shares his latest views on marketing, social user management and customer engagement.

social-brandsOn the 23rd May, the RSA in London played host to the launch of Social Brands 100 2013, an annual benchmark of brand engagement in social spaces, identifying industry leaders and providing a snapshot of social media’s evolution each year.

This year, Battlefield (an Electronic Arts property) was crowned the most social brand of 2013, on the basis of the depth and consistency of its social engagement with its audience. With a plethora of social businesses on the list, including other winners, The Dogs Trust, Absolut Vodka UK and  Appliances Online, Janrain was proud to be the main sponsor alongside media partner Brand Republic.

All the nominated brands were monitored online via three of the main social media platforms, 45% Facebook, 40% Twitter and 15% YouTube. These were identified as the main platforms that brands are using to engage with their consumers in 2013; interestingly 60-65% of brands admitted to looking to increase their spend and engagement across Google+ and Pinterest also.

For me, however, these engagement platforms are limited and next year I would like to see engagement being monitored across all platforms, including the brand website itself. The website is where the brands have a real opportunity to personalise the content they are sharing with their users and create an engagement that continues to grow brand loyalty and advocacy.

It was also interesting to me that the types of brands that ranked highly on the list fell into two categories: those who want to increase brand recognition through social media and those who want to push traffic back to their site through social media, which supports my call to include web site engagement within the ranking algorithm.

Those who want to push traffic back to their site through engagement seem to post more engaging, rich content. The Dogs Trust and their video of Wonky the dog was a prime example of this; a video of a highly disabled puppy that has learnt to walk again through the help of the trust soon became viral through the help of its online community, even making it onto the national news. The website was soon inundated with users watching the video and wanting to know more, leading to more donations and homing more dogs.

The crucial thing about using social engagement and content to drive visitors back to the website, is that it provides an opportunity to know exactly who your advocates are; something that didn’t feature highly enough on any of the speakers’ agendas, in my opinion. The key to deep and long-term engagement is identity; once you know who someone is and their likes & dislikes, you can create a much more meaningful and personal engagement. Jan Rezab at Social Bakers, social media and digital analytics company, explained how all engagement is measured and analysed by likes, shares and comments. A great start – but how do companies find out exactly who they are engaging with?

The latest Janrain research highlights an increasing consumer desire for personalised and relevant content, with 75% of consumers admitting personalisation is increasingly important to them when they arrive at a brand’s website and 75% stating they are more likely to return to a site that recognises them.

Overall the event was a great insight into how some of the most well-known and also lesser- known brands are really making social media work for them and their consumers. We were very lucky to be sponsors of the event and look forward to hosting some roundtables related to this later in the year.