Social media has arrived like never before. Cut to 2016, where life is measured by likes, comments and shares, with people living lives 140 characters at a time.
The good ol’ ‘word of mouth’ has gone digital. Marketers need to arm themselves, especially for the #YOLO generation that is busy thriving on Snapchat, Pinterest and Vine. This, and more, is precisely what social media brings to the table.
Replace nothing, complement everything
The idea of any social media strategy is never to substitute its print or TV campaign; it is meant to play a complimentary role — the mantra here is to co-exist. The nostalgic #WeMissYouToo storytelling videos by Maggi marking its comeback to the market are a befitting example. The icing on the cake is three-fold — firstly, the almost instantaneous form of communication where it permits users to provide and consume information in real time. Second is the immense scope of meaningful engagement, far from the push-notification syndrome. Lastly, consider the magical potential of multiplying. The audience targeted through social media is never really the ‘end’ user, purely owing to the viral nature of the medium where people can share content in their circles and in fact become further advocates of the brand, increasing reach. Having a social media presence allows brands to leverage and amplify, yet customise and re-target.
The one stop-shop solution
Gone are the days of hard-selling products and services. Customers today respond to holistic brand experiences. This is possible owing to the era of consolidation we live in — the answer to most effective servicing today is integration and digital marketing is no different. At the risk of blurring identities, it is important for digital marketing agencies to consolidate different services through a 360 degree offering.
Having a scattered digital campaign, peppered with AdWords and paid social fails to fit the bill anymore. While websites continue to rule the roost on the digital front for most brands, all digital strategies are turning redundant without aggressive social media plans. Brands instinctively respond better to agencies where all requirements are met under a single roof. This is akin to any contemporary e-commerce platform, ensuring a bouquet of offerings for its aware present-day customer. While social media marketing strategies can work in isolation if need be, they are most likely to be one time wonders and fizzle out without creating a long lasting impact. The best ones are usually those which don’t operate in silos and wherein the medium is used to magnify a single brand message driven across all its communication platforms. The idea eventually isn’t to develop something to say, rather to develop something to be heard.
Put your money where your mouth is
Digital marketers are frequently questioned about the RoI digital marketing can bring to a brand. Social media channels are moving beyond playing the placid role of being a platform for HR postings, company updates and grievance redressals to meaningful mediums of engagement, conversations and knowledge.
While RoI on digital marketing has been a long debated subject, marketers are opening up to the idea of social media marketing campaigns which actually help move the needle on the brand positioning front, instead of limiting themselves to the language of plain CTR, CPC and CPL. While not passé, these parameters of measurement are soon giving way to more significant reach-cum-engagement based result metric. This is a large part of the reason why marketers are more comfortable with spending on digital marketing campaigns today than ever before, indicating what the future holds. According to Social Media Marketing India Trends Study 2016, the number of brands spending 16% or more of their marketing budgets on social media has increased over the last few years.
Furthermore, for the first time in three years some brands specify that they spent more than 31% on social media. And this is just the beginning. The increasing urge to be digitally alive 24×7 will only further rise. As the popular author Ryan Lilly says, “Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.”
The author is Muddassar Memon associate VP — creative & social, iProspect India