Think your brand has a choice about whether it goes social or not?  You may want to think again. According to a Weber Shandwick report, executives consider their presence in social media to make up about 52 percent of their brands’ success in the marketplace—and this number is only going to keep rising in the coming years.

Why has social branding become such an important part of brand identity?  Simply put, social brands have become integrated into the average user’s web browsing experience.  Consumers rarely go online anymore without checking in on at least one of their favorite social platforms to see what’s going on.  Each one of these moments is an opportunity for a brand to engage the consumer—sharing content, new deals or perhaps just a good joke.

Even in its earliest incarnations, the internet has offered people a chance to connect.  In fact, connectivity could be seen as the primary principle on which all web-based content is designed.  This offers brands an unprecedented opportunity to engage consumers on a much more targeted, individual basis.  Many brands have taken this opportunity and run with it, and their reputations have benefited tremendously as a result.

Brands that don’t develop an active social presence run the risk of being forgotten.  An increasing number of consumers discover new brands and products either through peer recommendation or through a brand’s presence on the web.

Consumers who have had a good experience with a brand—and who have developed a good relationship with that brand through social channels—will be far more likely to recommend it to their peers.  If a brand doesn’t have a strong online presence, consumers will simply move on to a competitor that does.  In this way, absent brands stand to lose a great deal of business to their competitors if they do not allow themselves to be accessible.

Brands must be social to survive.

There’s really no way around it. Brands must be social to survive. If you’ve been reading the blog this week, you have heard me mention the perfect guy to take you there; Simon Mainwaring, Founder of We First. Simon is a member of the Sustainable Brands Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the Center for Public Diplomacy at the USC Annenberg School, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London, as well as an influential blogger for Fast Company, Huffington Post, Mashable, GOOD magazine and Forbes. From all angles, he knows what it takes to be a successful brand in the social business marketplace.

Simon has spent his career crafting strategic storytelling for Fortune 100 brands including Nike, Coca-Cola, Toyota and Motorola, receiving over sixty international advertising awards at the Cannes Advertising festival, US One Show and British D&AD, among others. And now, for the first time ever, he’s released a training program to show you how to use the secrets of the smartest marketers in the world to grow YOUR business.

If you’re interested in a new, comprehensive program on how to become a social brand by the New York Time’s bestselling author, click here.

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