As the folks behind social media strategy for brands get more comfortable with the medium, we are starting to see an increase in brand to brand communication. Empirically this just makes sense since there are plenty of businesses that make all their sales to other businesses. There is an interesting story behind the image I have shared with this post, but before I get to that take a few minutes to read Shelby’s “How to talk to a brand as a brand in social media” post from yesterday, as I’ll be referencing it below.
The story of SCHAWK! and ColorMetrix
As I’ve mentioned before ColorMetrix is my other business, and all our customers are other businesses. One of those businesses happens to be SCHAWK!. The interesting part of the story behind the image is that it’s possible the person behind the SCHAWK! tweet has no knowledge of this business relationship. At first that thought bothered me; especially after reading and mentally processing Shelby’s post from yesterday.
Then it occurred to me that SCHAWK! is a company literally hundreds of times larger than ColorMetrix. Their business is truly a global enterprise with around half a billion dollars in sales and people scattered all over the globe. Many of the organizations of this size that I’m familiar with and who do social media well do so with a team. If you’re going to be relevant and engaging in all the time zones, this is virtually a requirement. With an organization the size of SCHAWK! that means it’s difficult for the social team to know all the customers, much less the vendors. Finally, if you take a look at SCHAWK!’s Twitter stream and match it up against Shelby’s 10 strategy suggestions from yesterday, you’ll probably agree SCHAWK! does social media well.
How the brand to brand engagement went down
Acting on behalf of ColorMetrix, Shelby saw a tweet in our stream from SCHAWK! that looked interesting. She checked out the article herself and then liking what she saw, retweeted (or shared) the article with the ColorMetrix Twitter audience. That’s where the story ends for both personal and brand accounts many times in social media.
And that’s too bad because social media should be viewed as a tool for conversation. Successful conversations are never one-sided. SCHAWK! showed their appreciation for the re-sharing of the article to our audience. And here’s the meat of this post and why I think those thank you tweets – that many find annoying – are oh so important:
- Gratitude is an attitude, and that single tweet positions the SCHAWK! social team in our mind as nice gracious folks.
- You’re real and we’re real – Their thank you showed us that real folks monitor the SCHAWK! Twitter mentions stream. Our retweet of their article shows them the same.
- Helping spread the brands personalities – SCHAWK! and ColorMetrix are not competitors so why not help each other spread awareness of our brands?
It all comes down to conversation
Brands and the logos that represent them are inanimate and incapable of communication. Behind every brand logo in every communication medium is a human or a group of humans directing the message and voice of the business. How those humans interact in social media is increasingly becoming a huge part of how your business is viewed by the world at large. As a C-Level executive, I’d strongly recommend you keep yourself involved in the social media of your organization.