In-Scope: Brands on Social Must Start Acting like its 2018

Jasper leads Social & Innovation in OMD Create, leveraging channels & technology to reach audiences in meaningful ways.

Businesses need to be crystal clear on how their social media activity ladders up to business value. Particularly following Facebook’s latest News Feed updates, there is no room for ‘post and hope’ publishing strategies.

Social marketing has grown up a lot over the last 5-10 years, and the way many marketers use it has changed immensely. Social is now a bustling young adult. But a lot of people still know it as the pimply teenager.

Advertisers in all categories, big and small, have gone from gimmicky tactics asking for a lot of time investment from the user (in return for very little), to reaching audiences with emotive content tailored to their audience.

And while the big boom of excitement around social is behind us, there are question marks across our industry against the value of social marketing. Social media professionals must ensure that the business value of social is abundantly clear to everyone else.

It’s in human nature to demonstrate magpie mentality – jumping on new things because everyone else is. But if you start with a silly reason for doing something, it makes it a lot hard to ensure that what you’re doing is valuable for anything other than satisfying that reason.

Bad reasons, like ‘everyone else is on social’, or intangible things like ‘we’re there to foster engagement’, are hard to tie back to value. Bad reasons mean that you can’t show your impact.

You’re employed by a business, and you need a good reason that leads to a meaningful business outcome. These reasons aren’t foreign – they are things like driving awareness, increasing consideration, or converting to sale.

There’s never been a better time to find these right reasons for your social marketing! With more channels, bigger audiences, more formats, and smarter tech, all there to help you find success.

These channels help us focus. When you visit Facebook Ads Manager, the first thing you must do when setting up a new campaign is answer a question about your objective. Other channels follow a similar approach.

Whether you choose to see these platforms as your guardian angels or not is up to you. But they’ve recognised that it’s in everyone’s interest (theirs, users, advertisers) for media activity to be structured around marketing objectives.

But are we focussing on the right objectives? Looking at data aggregated by Socialbakers from over 1.4 million Facebook and Instagram ads across APAC, you’ll see the majority of ads are set up with a Post Engagement objective.

However according to research from Nielsen and Facebook, there’s no correlation between CTR% and brand metrics! Now, if you’re trying to optimise towards an online sale, or want people to click through to an article that you know will push consideration, then obviously there’s a very good reason to drive clicks.

But if you’re looking to drive recall, awareness or purchase intent, optimising towards clicks (whether link clicks or post engagements) is most likely not getting you anywhere.

Source: Nielsen BrandEffect meta-analysis of 478 online global campaigns that ran between Oct 2014 – April 2015

What’s more, your cost per reach will be much higher, because you’re competing with every other advertiser to optimise towards this niche of ‘clicky’ users

Engagement is great. It’s what makes social media social. But while fascinating to measure, it’s an outcome not an objective. Not a reason.

Somehow, 97% of content published by Aussie fashion retailers has nothing to do with fashion. Unless you sell dog food… puppies probably won’t help you get the business outcomes you need.

Soft social objectives like driving engagement, getting page likes and building buzz (that we were all using 5 years ago) are tricky to fit into a marketing funnel. Things like increasing awareness, driving consideration, capturing leads and making sales have a clear and valuable role.

Social marketing professionals have a duty to focus on social objectives fit into an overall marketing strategy, and are tied back to real business objectives. Everything must be tied back to value.

Let’s say no to fluff. And say yes to being useful.


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