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By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

May 9, 2013 | 3 min read

Interview by Stephen Lepitak

Brands should use an empty 2013 as an opportunity to address their social media engagement and strategy, according to former head of digital at Bacardi, Peter Clare.

A year without any major sporting or royal events to hook marketing onto means that brands need to learn how to use social media properly to maintain relationships, Clare said at a recent Empty13 event.

"Brands need to come up with things that are interesting to consumers," Clare explained. "If you're lucky enough to have a brand that is very interesting, great, but if you're not then try to understand your consumers, find out what's interesting to them and then create content that they will like.

Clare suggested brands should move away from their first interpretations of what social media brought to the relationship between marketer and consumer and realise that they must build on their ability to engage with people.

"I think some brands are better than others at social media, I think a lot of them initially saw it as a media, i.e. they saw Facebook as a place to reach hundreds of thousands and millions of people," he continued.

"I think what they should do is really understand that social is about talking to people, it's about building relationships and like all relationships you need to listen, you need to have a conversation that sometimes you don't like, but if you've done well you can build real advocates for your brand who will hopefully lead to sales."

Clare offered his social media tips at an Empty13 event, created by Bite Communications to bring brands and creatives together to explore the challenges of a year with no major UK events planned, adding that companies should be considering how they implement social media engagement.

"One of the big challenges for social is should it be in the marketing department? Should it be in the PR department? Maybe the answer is that all of your staff are social, all your staff should use social media, maybe put everyone on Twitter, maybe get everyone trained as opposed to trying to put it in a box."

A series of events throughout the year has brought brands and marketers together to discuss the best ways to take advantage of a year requiring creativity. The next event takes place in central London on 15 May.

Bacardi Empty13

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