Everyone knows we trust our friends’ opinions more than we trust brand advertising.
So naturally brands are testing social media to learn how best to create brand advocates. A CMO said to us recently, “If we can get our FaceBook fans to tell their friends, that will be more powerful than paid ads and we can create more efficiencies.”
Nobody doubts that statement.
Unfortunately, turns out to be not quite that simple. It’s a lot of work and takes a 24/7 always -on approach. And the biggest challenge remains creating scale anywhere close to paid media in order to generate desired sales lifts.
In our media brand practice, we’ve tested everything from influencer programs to blogger programs to multiple facebook brand initiatives. We’ve had varying degrees of success.
We’re bullish on social media but testing has proven that social strategy works best as part of a larger integrated marketing and business plan.
Social Media should NOT be a stand alone brand tactic. Here are some reasons why:
1. Social Media is very hard to scale on its own.
2. Social Media should part of the overall communication of the brand and work in unison with all other brand touchpoints.
3. Social Media, when done well, is integrated into the total business goals of the brand, not just the marketing goals.
4. Social Media is a long tail strategy and takes a period of time to realize results. Social Media is not inherently a fast audience builder.
5. Social Media should constantly tell a brand’s story (through video, blogs, photography, scribing) with rewards and incentives ocassionally thrown in to keep fans motivated. It should not be solely a broadcast vehicle that is only about brand selling.
6. Social Media, supported by paid advertising, can scale quickly and social content can be amplified to a much larger audience.
7. Social Media, when integrated into customer service, can help reinforce the brand attributes with customers and create happy customers.
When brands integrate social media with other marketing and business strategies, the results are greater response rates, greater reach, greater brand engagement, and deeper overall metrics.
Don’t isolate social media marketing into a siloed marketing tactic. This approach greatly limits the ability of social media to be a force in strengthening the brand story.