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Johnson & Johnson exec: Build a positive image through social

NEW YORK ? Brands marketing through social media need to focus on creating overall authenticity and positive image through multiple channels, according to a panel at Forrester?s Forum for Marketing Leaders. 

It is imperative to use all these social media and mobile platforms to appeal to consumers and be a trusted brand, as well as drive engagement. Although engagement is highly significant for information such as the success of the content and how to move forward, without a cohesive, authentic image throughout all these channels, consumers will not buy products or services from that brand.  

"We strategically believe that it is not just what we are doing on YouTube," said Kelly Gottfried, senior director of marketing at Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ. "It is YouTube and Instagram and Facebook, and how all that communication tethers around a single-minded message to drive us. 

"So it may not be that a specific channel that gets her to the shelf, but it may lead to other things about the brand that she sees over time that drives a reason to believe that Johnson?s is the product that she wants to use for her baby."

Social media is where a consumer learns about brands, and this is where his or her perception of the brand is built. Brand sentiment as a whole is the most important factor in marketing, and social media is where it starts. 

Crashing social sales
For a successful social media strategy, it is vital to think of it in terms of creating a comprehensive impression and connection to consumers rather than driving sales. Engagement through these platforms will not drive sales, and doing so is waste of time and money that could be used elsewhere. 

It is hard to navigate the ever-changing marketing environment right now, so it is important to stick to this notion of positive image with these channels, but focus on driving sales elsewhere, not through social. 

With that said, social media is still a place to experiment with content and to greater appeal to your consumer. Creating that feeling of being trustworthy is important, and consumers will be drawn to a brand not only for products but for information as well.

"[Engagement] does absolutely drive and inform us,? said Maggie Lang, senior director of guest marketing at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, San Francisco. ?Social is such an experimental channel. 

"Use it to experiment your content strategy, not your sales though, because a Facebook Like is not going to drive conversion,? she said. ?Whether you are a car company or an insurance company or anything else, but you do need to keep an eye for content."
Companies should focus budgets on developing these social and digital marketing strategies, straying away from print. However, with this volatile area that is constantly evolving with new technology and consumer behavior, it is difficult to navigate costs and how to move forward. 

Reviews are helpful
The discussion about brands on social can be a difficult area to manage as well. Consumers can now express however they feel, whether it is accurate or not, with this content reaching a wide audience in a short amount of time and little effort. 

Listening to the consumer?s voice and turning negatives into positive can really be beneficial for a brand. If a customer has a bad experience with a service or product and shares a complaint on social, the brand can reach out and rectify the situation as well as make changes based off this information.  

Situations like this can show the compassion behind a company and brand, and express a favorable impression. 

"People are listening in the social media channels, so a lot of times I think that brands are not always leveraging that," Ms. Lang said. "That is your brand?s reputation, and your credibility is founded around that conversation."

Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York