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Think BR: Achieving social media success

Despite people predicting the end of social media every time Facebook shares drop, social media is now stronger than ever, writes Ines Nadal, research manager, Ipsos ASI.

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Even if Facebook becomes the next MySpace we can be sure that something else will replace it.

Many startups, motivated by the success of Facebook, Twitter and the rapid growth of new platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, are working hard to become the next big thing.

Some platforms might disappear in the future and new ones will emerge, but what we can't deny is that social media has changed the way we communicate.

Social media enables brands to reach out to people and actively interact with them. However, with all the noise on social media, brands are finding it harder to stand out from the crowd to reach and engage with their target audience.

A key challenge for marketers remains the same - using social media in an effective and compelling way, making the most of all the opportunities that it offers.

This is hardly news, and as it has been noted many times, there is no one recipe or golden formula for social media success, but there are tactics that can help marketers to leverage social media:

  • Set your objectives and goals from the start and determine your metrics. Before you start a journey you need to know where you want to go and how will get there. Set your strategy before you start a Facebook page. Decide what you want to achieve and how are you going to measure your success. These goals should be realistic and align with your brand objectives. If you are starting out, you should not expect a shift on advocacy after the first month.
  • Choose the right platform for your brand. Take time to explore where your target audience is, fully understand how each channel works and whether it is a good fit for your brand and your objectives. Not all the channels work in the same way or attract the same audience. Just because Facebook is the biggest platform doesn’t mean that it will work for all brands/company objectives (ie, if what you want to achieve is better customer service, Twitter might be a better place). 
  • Treat social media as a key element of your marketing strategy (instead of a bolt-on) and integrate it with traditional advertising to create more engaging content that connects with your audience through different platforms. Use your brand’s Big Idea to deliver a consistent message linked to your brand strategy.
  • Find your brand’s social media persona. Define your brand personality, voice and style. Think about your brand’s character attributes, the voice that will resonate the most with your audience and how you will interact/engage with them. Before you post, check that the message is in line with your brand’s character. 
  • Post engaging and relevant content. Highlight news and topics that resonate with your audience, things they are interested in and care about that  will make them want to engage in conversations and share content. Ensure the content fits with your brand story and personality. Remember that this is not about broadcasting your message, it is a two-way conversation, so respond to your audience. 
  • Have a long-term perspective. Quick wins are good and social media campaigns can have a positive impact on awareness in the short-term, but to build strong relationships and advocacy you need a long-term strategy. Use social media campaigns as part of your wider communication strategy. Focus on your brand objectives, think long-term and be consistent. Social media is not a sprint, it is a marathon - so take your time and plan.

Social media success requires planning, time and great content. Keep it consistent, engaging and be prepared for the long haul and you will see results. Start planning your social media marathon now. 

Ines Nadal, research manager, Ipsos ASI


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