Gratterpalm's Bethell on getting maximum ROI from social media
Gordon Bethell, managing partner at Gratterpalm, offers his thoughts on how retailers and brands alike can get maximum return on investment from using both social media and online advertising as tools to engage with customers.
As brands and retailers have experienced over the past few years, social media has, and will continue to influence consumer behaviour. Conversations have now shifted online and people are discussing brands, services and companies via social media platforms such as blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. These sources are incredibly powerful as they can potentially have a significant impact on consumer behaviour, through user generated content.
It’s difficult to challenge the role of social media marketing in a client’s strategic communications mix, as marketers can reach out and deepen customer relationships in engaging, innovative ways. Social media can truly personify a brand, give real depth to any campaign and the power of the marketplace can help to build brand awareness, consideration and competitive positioning.
Of course, online advertising is also a good channel to interact with a brand’s customer base, as it’s highly effective at influencing click-through behaviour, extremely flexible, traceable and difficult to beat from a cost effective targeting point of view. One major benefit of online advertising is the immediate publishing of information, which quickly targets the right customers, whereas engaging via social media can sometimes be a lengthier process, as brands and retailers need to establish and grow their profile and reputation as a trusted source of information with the online community.
Social media marketing is a long term, intensive activity that should be based on the ability to respond or prompt a conversation topic 24 hours a day. The executor of the activity must be truly aligned with the client’s brand and its key messages and values must be presented day in and day out over a sustained period.
All too often marketers run head-on into social media without having a solid strategy and end up alienating potential brand advocates and existing customers, by failing to engage in an appropriate way. Social media marketing should be a permanent function within a client’s marketing toolkit and requires long term investment and direction. If the client’s infrastructure is better suited to short term campaigns, promotions and tactical activity, then a well planned targeted online advertising campaign should deliver acceptable results in the short term.