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Skeptical CMOs are wrong – social media marketing is a powerful tool

By Daisy Domenghini, Managing director



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April 3, 2024 | 6 min read

Are we really still discussing the validity of social media marketing, asks Daisy Domenghini of VaynerMedia EMEA? Those who doubt it is risk being left behind.

A hand holds a black marker pen over a whiteboard on which the word 'audience' is written with arrows pointing towards it

/ Melanie Deziel via Unsplash

For the second year running, over a fifth (22.5%) of the 3,000 marketers responding to Marketing Week’s 2024 Career & Salary Survey, say social media is the most overrated skill in a marketer. Frankly, this shows how much education and modernizing CMOs in our industry need to undertake.

Social media is not a distraction from traditional marketing, it's an extension of it. It seems crazy to me that we are repeating the same conversations from ten or so years ago, about whether digital marketing is just…well, marketing. Social is not just part of the modern marketing mix, but one of its most important parts.

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Ignore the power of social at your peril

The role of social media as an insights engine – instructing you on what audiences like, dislike, and are willing to buy – is unparalleled. This information can be crucial in guiding creative projects. It's impossible for a single creative director, no matter how great, to be able to understand the zillions of online communities and subcultures. Social media has helped culture become less homogeneous and that's a good thing. So let's use it to listen to those many diverse cohorts.

Social media directly guides what many think of as the key elements of classic, traditional marketing – to drive growth, to understand the customer, to build customer propositions that resonate, to communicate with consumers, and to position brands. It's one of the easiest ways for a brand to keep up with trends and adjust to the needs of consumers.

Search data and trends are the other key factors here. Automated tools are not always great at reading sentiment, which is why nothing beats hands-on platform experience to best engage with others and achieve marketing objectives. The alternative often is spending a fortune on content that doesn’t resonate or even reach people. Overlooking social expertise can simply undermine your brand.

We often tell our clients that if they do not control the social media narrative around their brand, others will quite happily do it for them – or they risk not being part of the conversation at all.

Put social media at the center of what you do

Failure to understand these things is a failure to understand how marketing has moved on in the past twenty years and where it's heading. We have to remove reliance on the subjectivity of the C-Suite and build social media marketing knowledge into the core of our plans. The principles of marketing have not changed, but the way we implement them has. We live in a digital world and that means embracing the power of social media.

A "social at the center" approach emphasizes the role of social platforms in brand building and customer engagement and can inform other channels as well as allow for ideas that resonate to be scaled. As with any form of marketing, you need to create the right content for the right platforms. The great thing about putting social at the heart of your campaigns though is that even if you do an out-of-home (OOH) campaign, you can still use social insights as a guide to make the work most effective.

Tap into culture – and make people laugh, smile, and feel. Because the more we get into it, the more similar our views are to those of traditional marketers. Again, I'm not negating the age-old truths of our craft, but things have evolved. The key difference is that those marketers who embrace social media will be here in five to ten years while the fifth of survey respondents who overlook these skills won’t be.

I really believe it's that important. And while they're catching up, the rest of us will be focussing on consumer attention, relevance, and delivering great campaigns.

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