HARBETH: Their views re social media in our industry

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This is the first in a series of articles canvassing industry opinion about topical issues. Attitudes toward the application of social media in brand promotion towards potential customers is the focus. Inevitably, the discussion embraces considerations of the relevance of Facebook and Twitter to end-users, and perceptions of their effectiveness in engaging with interested persons when compared to printed audiophile magazines.

Today we are proud to welcome Harbeth’s brand manager Emma Smith and her responses. Thank you Emma.

Neil McCauley / editor in chief

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Q1: Emma, what’s Harbeth's perception of the importance or irrelevance of Facebook in reaching out to potential buyers?

Facebook has become increasingly important in raising awareness of our brand to a younger demographic; our future buyers. Not only that, it’s a way that we can interact with customers and potential customers as well as provide a human voice behind our brand.

Q2: Re Facebook, is there in your view a age-gap between us in the industry and the average age of our target market and if so, should we and can we do anything about it?

Yes and no. The 45–54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on Facebook, although the 18-29 age bracket still appears to be the largest demographic on this platform. We need to think about ways to talk to a new, younger generation without alienating our current customers. Different social media platforms can be used in slightly different ways without diluting our brand message.

Q3: What’s Harbeth's perception of the importance or irrelevance of Twitter in reaching out to potential buyers?

We see a lot of engagement on Twitter and so do feel that it’s a very relevant platform for us in raising awareness of our brand and products to new customers.

Q4: Re Twitter, is there in your view a age-gap between us in the industry and the average age of our target market and if so, should we and can we do anything about it?

Again, yes and no. Apparently the average age of Twitter users is 30 however, the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket. As with Facebook, we need to ensure we’re talking to a next generation of buyers and increasing brand awareness, without alienating our current demographic of products owners.

Q5: How likely is it do you think that at some point (possibly it’s even happened) that social media’s effectiveness per £100 or $100 USD will exceed the effectiveness of print-based advertising for the same expenditure?

The effect of social media is, in a way, ‘easier’ to gauge than print based advertising. Print advertising may plant that seed, encouraging potential buyers to seek out the products to view or listen to, but by the time they come to buy is anyone actually asking them what prompted this sale? It’s a journey rather than triggering an immediate sale. In a way, they can still work together but there’s no doubt social media is likely to become, if it is not already, a more cost-effective way of promotion.

Q6: Might there be a darker side to Social Media in our industry that hasn’t occurred to many of us yet? If so, would you care to share your thoughts?

It’s vital to think authentically about how to position your brand on social media. Companies with a social media presence are in a way more vulnerable and open to criticism than ever before. Any complaint or negative review is out there for all to see and how companies respond is scrutinised closely. Social media is about engagement and building relationships so all communication needs to be thought through so as not to damage your brand.

Thank you Emma

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