The reasons for brands to be on social media platforms today include reach, interaction, performance media (RoI), targeted audience base and a consumption-based media buying opportunity where they can spend R1,000 a day or can spend in lakhs per day. As a result, social media platforms are making available a whole host of tools/services that can benefit the business needs of brands.
Given different lifecycles and products, brands use different solutions made available to them by social platforms. For example, Facebook Canvas is Facebook’s attempt of housing a microsite that is mobile first and responsive. The advantage in doing this is that it’s cheaper to create a Canvas versus a microsite. Moreover, it is auto-responsive, which means it’s made for mobile — a place where most of the audience is. It further allows people to understand the product offering and gives the brand an opportunity to utilise its own look and feel, and create the complete brand environment for engagement.
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However, the objective has always been to get users to spend more time within their respective walled gardens. Hardly any network has made significant efforts in sharing insights that can help boost advertiser confidence. Facebook topic profile data and Gnip for Twitter have no doubt been great initiatives, but both have been token attempts and there is no answer in the horizon to whether WhatsApp will ever cease to be a black box for insights.
In a way, networks have also missed a chance to create truly brand-friendly products — especially Twitter and CRM. The company has largely relied on users and third party developers’ imagination to utilise the platform for conversation. Part of the reason also lies in its decline as a platform for brand experiences. If you think the internet is dynamic, social media changes each day and hence it becomes difficult for clients to always be aware of new offerings and how they can use it to their benefit. Smaller agencies servicing clients usually take a long time to understand and then educate the client.
Also, sometimes when the client sees RoI in one kind of a solution, they tend to overdepend on it for all objectives. However, most tools made for this medium are made for different reasons and hence, looking at the overall picture becomes extremely important.
The author is chief digital officer, South Asia, Mindshare