Has social media marketing moved past ‘likes’?

Glen Ireland and Rajiv Mehta tell Ayushi Anand whether marketers have gone past the love for ‘likes’ in their social media marketing journeys.

Mar 04, 2014 10:17:00 PM | Article | Ayushi Anand

(L to R) Glen Ireland, CEO, Dentsu Digital and Rajiv Mehta, MD, Puma South Asia

Has social media marketing moved beyond ‘likes’? Is a large segment of marketers still in the mode of acquiring followers and ‘likes’?

GI: Yes and No. Yes, because a lot of brands use FB as an engagement platform – so content interaction metrics are equally important. No, because a brand does need to build a certain critical fan base to be able to leverage the platform – so ‘likes’ is one metric that helps calculate the same. There are still many questions about the RoI of social media that remain unanswered. The key is to have clearly defined objectives on why a brand needs a social media strategy and presence in the first place. Once, that’s clearly articulated, outcomes should be more meaningful.

RM: Of course social media marketing has moved beyond ‘likes’. It’s about conversations people are having about your brand, whether they’re ‘checking in’ to your stores or outlets, posting pictures of your events and sharing content. One wants engaged and involved customers and not passive ones. There are of course a large number of marketers who measure success on the basis of new likes and followers, but the smarter ones are looking at the quality of interactions, the profiles of followers and how involved they are with the brand.

Can you name one stand-out campaign as a case of successfully leveraging followers on social media (in India)?

GI: Different campaigns have leveraged social media in different ways. Some have used it to drive better customer service delivery – especially via Twitter. Others, use social media as a listening post. Others have used CRM and backend integration to merge profile and transaction data for targeted campaigns. Some to drive brand sampling and offers. The DoCoMo campaign that used FB data to push both customised and personalised content to each fan was definitely a first in the market both in term of customer engagement and business impact.

RM: I might sound biased but one of the most stand-out social media campaigns leveraging followers and integrating an offline event seamlessly with online social media is ‘Pimp Your Sole’ – a campaign created by Puma back in 2010.

Does a ‘forced’ following – ‘like’ the page to participate in a contest, etc. – work in the long term? Is that still the primary mode of getting followers?

GI: Contests are only one part of the engagement mix and if designed well with a strong linkage to the brands’ core proposition it does add an additional layer to consumer and brand interaction. A campaign we developed last year for Canon cameras was hugely successful as it was deeply rooted in the campaign idea and got participants to engage with content to participate.

RM: It depends on the efforts the brand then takes to keep the new followers engaged. A lot of times, if the content quality drops after a particular contest, then the new followers will easily jump ship and ‘unlike’ the page. But if there are opportunities for consistent reward for followers, and rich content being offered – then the forced following method could still work in the long term. It’s true that because it’s become such a challenge to stand out in the world of social media, brands still resort to this method as the primary way to gain followers.

When used alongside traditional media, what are the ways to identify impact of social media in a campaign?

GI: This is significantly important as traditional media campaigns often trigger online search and share behaviour. So setting up a platform in tandem to track search behavior post campaign is hugely important. Also, to track and measure campaign buzz and sentiment allows for brands to tweak and change strategy if things are working as per plan. The ripple effect with multi-screen (TV, iPad and Mobile) is what most brands need to consider whilst planning a 360-degree brand campaign.

RM: There are many ways to identify RoI from a social media campaign. You can measure likes, impressions, influential followers who struck conversations about the campaign, engagement levels, trending topics etc. and all these can be used to identify the impact of social media in a larger campaign. However, with the use of coupons and vouchers for your social media fans, you can actually measure sales impact attributed to the brand’s social media efforts based on how many people use those codes and vouchers available online only.

Would you say marketers are using social media well to source data?

GI: This is an emerging trend. The more sophisticated marketers who sit on transactional data are better positioned to benefit from this. There’s still a huge gap and opportunity in cross planning social media and CRM data toda; but it’s a trend that will see more action in the years ahead.

RM: I think there’s a lot of data available on the kind of consumers, what they’re buying, how old they are, their tastes and preferences etc. But I’m not sure if brands are yet using the data available in an optimal way. Either they over-analyse their data, which is not a good thing because it takes away the spontaneity and gut instinct that is so integral to any marketing campaign, or they don’t use the data at all.  At this point, marketers use data from their CRM and loyalty tools better because that is available at the point of sale, rather than social media data.