What are Brand friendships?

Okay, I admit it, I’ve coined that term. But if you think about all that is being talked about in Social Media, brand friendship is really where it’s at. All the articles and blogs speak to the elements of engagement and ultimately it all adds up to viewers becoming friends with their brands. So what are the elements that brands need to implement in social media that make viewers want to become their friends? Here are a few basics in the development of brand friendships:

1) No one wants to be friends with someone who always wants something from you… the same applies for a brand friendship. Building a relationship with niche audiences isn’t going to go very well, if all your content speaks to brand only. You need to be helpful and a brand needs to speak to the concerns of it niche market, and yes sometimes it has to go “off” scope to provide some context. No one wants to be friends with someone who always wants something from you….the same applies toward brand friendships.

2) Not many people appreciate unpredictability in their friends, or at least someone they can’t really read… so why would they want to have that with their brand friendships? Develop a tone. Be engaging. Be social. Keep your voice to your content, whether it’s a Facebook post, a video on YouTube, an Instagram picture, tweet of a blog post, your message  must be carried in the same way. Think of the brand as a person. A person may have many ways of expressing themselves…sometimes happy, upbeat or at times serious or sad…regardless of tone the content should remain consistent.

3) Being a good friend takes effort… from both parties. The premise here is that brand lives within a market, an environment. It shares that environment with its niche market and therefore, must be sensitive to their values, attitudes and viewpoints. So if there is a concern or a public outcry that has relevancy to the niche market, the brand must participate. Communication must be authentic, engaging and ring true. No one wants to be friends with someone that doesn’t evolve and makes no effort to take the relationship to a new level.

4) Don’t be a wallflower. If you’re only going to show up at the party and not engage…well then you provide no value… and really you aren’t working on developing friendships. Whether it’s enjoyment, knowledge or just simply inspiration, make sure that there is value in what you are bringing up. Brands need to offer up entertainment, information and value. There are many ways to do this, so just don’t pick one way, always. Variety is necessary to keep your friendships constantly growing.

5) No shows… are a no-no! You know how some friends are there and then they are not. Well that’s not cool. From a person or from a brand. Being present, being timely and being mindful is a must. Viewers that have decided to let you in their circle must be respected in kind.

These are only a few tips on developing brand relationships. I’d like to hear on how you’ve cultivated brand relationships here.