How social media can save brands hundreds of thousands of pounds

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

This week sees marketing experts from all over the world descend on London for Social Media Week. The value of social is never far from commentators’ minds and thumbs. Gary Vaynerchuk regularly chastises rooms full of marketeers for not going all in with Facebook and Instagram, whereas Mark Ritson literally does some kind of victory dance if Facebook reports any numbers wrong.

So, where can brands find real value from social?

Earlier this year, we were very proud to win the RAR (Recommended Agency Register) Award for Value for Money. These awards are voted for by clients so Media Bounty’s clients think that we are the top value for money agency in the UK. Pretty awesome, but providing genuine value can take many forms and is not always straightforward. For us it is about providing value over the long term, while challenging clients, other agencies and ourselves to ensure we are not just doing the easiest thing for a brand, but the right thing.

These are the golden rules of social as we see it.

Listen to your consumers. Understand their behaviours, their hopes, their fears. Social provides the biggest opportunity in your business right now to deliver insight into your consumer.

View social insight as your Customer Director. Your consumers represented in the boardroom. Give your Customer Director an equal vote in big decisions.

Do not chase short term vanity metrics. Focus on the long term business and brand objectives.

Don't buy like ads, unless retailers will only stock your product if you have a certain number of likes.

Retail buyers - don't ask your 'partners' to spend thousands of pounds on like ads which benefit no one. Not the brand, not you, not the consumer.

Test and learn.

Take your TV ad out of its ivory tower. Ensure your content is designed around platform guidelines and best practice. Do not just put your TV ad on social.

Challenge the egos in your agency. Challenge the egos in your business.

Educate your business in social in 2017. Yourself. Your team. Your board. It is not an excuse for senior management to not understand social.

Test and learn creative iterations and KPIs through the Facebook ad platform before putting thousands of pounds behind posts. Facebook advertising is still really cheap. It won’t be forever.

Do not be afraid to fail. Reporting failures will mean more efficient spend in the future. Demand that reporting informs your future creative and media decisions.

Test and learn.

Be wary of ANY media that has already been bought as inventory by a media agency.

Influencers that have the biggest reach will not always be the best match for your brand.

Set out clear roles and responsibilities and scopes of work for your agencies so they are clear and work together for a common goal. Share your long-term business and communications objectives so your agencies are not recommending short-term tactics for sake of looking busy.

Engagements are useful metrics, but should only be seen in the context of long-term brand and commercial growth.

Test and learn.

It is a source of enormous frustration to me to see brands spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on activity that does not add value. I would far rather you kept the money or donated to a good cause than doing the equivalent of burning it.

Jake Dubbins is managing director of Media Bounty

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Jake Dubbins

Jake Dubbins is chief executive officer of creative social media agency Media Bounty.

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