According to research, 40 per cent of the world’s population is online and networked on some social platform. One in every four minutes of an individual is spent on one of these social networks. Further, statistical research has revealed that more than 95 per cent of Facebook users log into their account every day. The same number for Twitter is 60 per cent and for LinkedIn is 30 per cent. Interestingly, just in the last 12 months, the visual web is driving the rise of Pinterest and Tumblr with tremendously high growth rates of 88 per cent and 74 per cent respectively. Such figures amplify the potential a brand can create if it uses this platform wisely.
However engaging and dialogue-driven the social media platform can be, it is still plagued with a few barriers, owing to its novelty and highly dynamic nature. Because this universe consists of user-generated content, it can make or break a brand within moments. “Social media has the ability to cause perceptions. And in the world of marketing and branding, perceptions are more important than the truth,” said Harish Bijoor, Brand expert & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
The key to successful social media engagement campaigns lies in creating relevant contents. The roadblock being faced here is related to the new policies introduced by social media networks. “For instance, Facebook now charges a premium amount to make posts visible to users even though they are fans of the brand. The idea behind this is to make the users interact with only those brands with whom they have a higher level of engagement, so that ‘unliking’ isn’t an outcome out of bombardment of posts by brands. Besides, it is also a monetising platform for Facebook,” added Sanjeev Kapur, Chief Marketing Officer, Citi India.
It becomes important to acknowledge the three barriers to social media marketing:
Alignment: Campaigns that are created for a particular brand need to be suitably aligned for visibility across digital and non-digital platforms like: display ads, videos, social engagement, TVCs, etc. “Such campaigns will prove to be most successful as they will carry the same message for the brand across platforms, thereby generating higher recall,” said Paul McInerney, Principal, McKinsey & Co, Tokyo.
Budgeting: The advertising spend of a brand will not shoot up even if a new platform for marketing gets created. The trick lies in identifying the most apt solution to reach out to the target audience, by investing in big data analysis. Besides, measurement technologies need to be in place to realise the RoI and engagement metrics behind social media campaigns.
Access to talent: The social media universe is extremely dynamic. It comprises an understanding of consumer behaviour, brand building as well as technology. There exists a certain dichotomy in the creative industry which needs to be addressed in order to gain access to the best talent. “While big agencies are adept in brand building, but somewhat lack in technology adoption and measurement metrics; the smaller, newer, younger agencies possess the latter but have little understanding of brand building. This gap needs to be bridged,” added Farida Kaliyadan, Vice President – Brand Development and Consumer Insights, Aditya Birla Group.