The Business Behind Social Media
Is it more financially valuable to implement a wide variety of social media platforms and digital marketing strategies, or just focus on a few select outlets?
We have strong feelings about where every social campaign and every social strategy should start. A lot of companies come to us and ask the same questions: Where should we start? Where should we be focusing our energies? Rather than a faith-based approach to marketing, we feel that the best place to start is with numbers. For one company, YouTube may be a good option; for another company, Pinterest may be the way to go, and start to understand what works best based on numbers, such as traffic from that platform, number of mentions of your brand, etc. Usually you can get your first inkling from those data points. That’s not to say there shouldn’t be an experimental budget in your social marketing campaign war chest that allows you to try new things on new platforms.
You can easily measure the impact of that investment by looking at referred traffic. Adobe has a solution that allows you to see which user is generating a significant amount of that traffic to your site, and what kinds of content are the big drivers. It adds a scientific method to these experimental platforms that allows you to make investments that are predictable and effective in future campaigns.
Australia has the highest penetration of Facebook users per capita in the world. What other kinds of regional/Asia Pacific social media trends have you noticed?
In terms of Australia, we find that there are a lot of similarities with the US in terms of trends. The primarily difference here in APAC is the great emphasis on the emerging Chinese social networks such as RenRen, Sina Weibo, Tyshen. These are strategic platforms for companies in the region, and in many ways, these companies weigh, in terms of innovation, on social platforms. With Weibo, we’re seeing it go beyond what Twitter has done in terms of creating a 140-character back and forth conversation by adding comments to their platform so that more of a conversation and emerge from a single post on Weibo.
I think other dynamics that make Weibo interesting is the fact that in English, there are 140 characters that may be used in that update. In English, that may mean a few sentences, but in Chinese, a character says a lot more than just a letter. So, you have the ability to post a full paragraph in a Weibo update and get a whole lot of information out there. Those dynamics make those platforms very interesting in this region in addition to the fact that they’re close to our key markets in APAC.
You’re going to present at the Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium in Sydney tomorrow on the topic of Turning Social Buzz into Actionable Insights. What will you focus on in your presentation?
I’m going to be focusing on how marketers can bring social media to the next stage of maturity in its marketing evolution. For instance, with email, back in the late ‘90s, people were very excited about the new platform and their primary focus was building their email distribution lists. We got excited and started sending emails out to our customers, then the term “spam” was invented. We had to then be smart about how we sent emails: timely, relevant, sent at the right time of day.
Social media is going through that same evolution: for the past few years, everyone has been focused on increasing likes, fans, followers, etc. Now that we have critical mass, marketers need to get beyond that into revenue-generating activities with this new audience. I’ll be talking about how marketers can use our software to get beyond traditional metrics around social media to business metrics around social media; revenue, leads, ad impressions and money.
What should businesses look out for in the social media space in the future?
It’s going to get bigger. The biggest trend that’s relevant to marketers is the fact that the ‘honeymoon’ for social media within businesses is going to come to a close. We’re seeing that happen already in the US and I’m hearing now, more and more, with our customers here in Australia as well. [After] growing our communities on Facebook, Twitter and these emerging platforms, you need to justify your existence, Social Marketer. You need to decide if you’ll take a customer service angle, a cost-savings department, or are you going to be a marketer and increase revenue in measurable ways. The answer to that question is going to determine the strategic nature of social media marketing within the enterprise in a huge way.
The social media marketers who opt to become true marketers by changing consumer behaviour and increasing revenue are going to be those that will have a seat at the table in the long term when it comes to marketing strategy in large companies.
The Symposium is scheduled for Thursday, 2 August 2012 from 8:30-5 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel, Sydney. A reception and networking drinks will follow from 5-6:30 p.m. Registration is still open and may be completed here.
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