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Brands told: Popularity no longer about number of Facebook likes

/ 05:12 AM August 25, 2017

Donald Lim

Dentsu Aegis Network is made up of 10 global network brands operating in 145 countries: Carat, Dentsu, dentsu X, iProspect, Isobar, mcgarrybowen, Merkle, MKTG, Posterscope and Vizeum.

The network is innovating the way brands are built for its clients through its expertise and capabilities in media, digital and creative communications services.

Dentsu Aegis Network country CEO Donald Lim shares his insights on the topic.

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Q1: What are some of the most common mistakes companies do in social media marketing?

A: For me, the biggest mistake is mismanagement of expectations.

Most brands use social media to collect fans, and use the number of likes or followers as the metric of success. Then, they evaluate [return on investment] of social media through sales, which in my opinion, is the weakest area of social media.

Social media is used for brand engagement and creating affinity with the brand. Nowhere does [it say that] social media [can] promise an increase in sales, but most brands try to tie social media initiatives with sales.

Q2: What are some companies that you look up to when it comes to social media marketing?

A: Coca Cola is still my favorite example. I am a bit biased because I worked with the brand for three years. They are very open to experimenting with digital, and their head office supports initiatives done by their local office. Couple that with an open-minded [integrated marketing communications] head, and you have the formula for success.

They were able to steadily gain a strong Facebook and Twitter following. They are serious in listening to their customers on social media [through their] social command center. They are measuring social activities correctly by correlating it with brand attribute lifts rather than just movement on the shelves.

For digital executions, I will still recommend having a website, to use e-mail dispatches and to establish a [customer relationship management] program. Social, at best, would be having a Twitter account to manage customer feedback and complaints, or use it for thought leadership.

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Q3: Which social media campaigns are considered the world’s best so far in generating awareness and sales?

A: I would still think that the benchmark would be the Department of Tourism’s campaign: “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. It is social and viral enough: Foreigners know about the campaign, it leveraged on Filipinos’ social nature to post and promote, and it got a lot of media attention around the world. It is simple enough, and does not even need a Facebook page or Twitter account as the campaign anchor. The tagline itself is marketing enough.

Globally, I think Old Spice and Australia’s Best Job in the World would be the benchmarks.

Q4: Marketing budget for social media used to be a minority percentage. Which major companies or industries have shifted their budget to majority social media?

A: I think most multinationals have shifted portions of their marketing budget to social and digital. Five years ago, digital is no more than 1 percent of the budget.

There was even a mindset that digital and social should be free, because setting up a fanpage is free. What most marketing people do not realize is that there is a cost to set up, a larger cost to promote, and a cost to maintain and sustain.

Today, brands [are] allocating 5-10 percent into digital. Vis-a-vis other countries, we are still a bit on the low side, but we are slowly getting there to the right levels, at around 20-25 percent.

There was a time that agencies used to sell fans and followers to brands, especially brand managers who overcommit to their bosses, or brands who really use the number of fans as metric. But I think those days are gone as the novelty of having pure quantity of fans as metric has already disappeared.

Brands are now asking agencies the right questions, focusing on engagement metrics like response time and sentiment analysis.

Q5: What can you say about social media marketing via giveaways and contests instead of churning out original or effective content?

A: Using giveaways and contests was the primary tool four years ago in terms of fan acquisition. However, high unsubscribe rates (people liking a page to join and then unliking afterwards) as well as rulings by the Department of Trade and Industry in securing a permit for every Facebook promotion have made it very inconvenient for brands to do promotions online.

In principle, there is nothing wrong in doing that. What is more important is that the engagement continues after getting them into the page.

For example, Nescafe [in the Philippines] used the concept of points to generate a massive fan base. In fact, it got bigger than the global page. Then, they sustained it with proper content management in that they were able to engage their Facebook community to become active collaborators and ambassadors.

Q6: How do you measure effectiveness in social media?

A: Social media is effective if it is able to help a brand in achieving its marketing objectives. For some brands, they measure the effectiveness of social media activity on how much [they are] perceived better than their competitors, via monthly tracking data. Others look at social media sentiment and analyze it. Some use social media for market research and customer response and engagement.

Q7: What are the triggers that make a video go viral?

A: In my experience, viral videos should be credible, emotional and tell a story. It has to be shared and talked about. The most visible metrics would be the number of shares, or if it is a video, the number of views.

Cebu Pacific’s dancing flight attendants, Coke’s OFW videos, and BPI’s Chris Lao would be the top viral videos coming from the Philippines.

Q8: The social media scene is almost entirely unpredictable at the moment. What will the future be like in terms of using social media in business?

A: Social media would be less about platforms like Facebook or Twitter, but on how they would be used. Acquiring a significant number of likes or followers is still important. However, brands are not [just] stopping there. Brands should use social media to generate data about their customers.

Actively listening can help the brand understand customers better and how they are performing. Theoretically, it can also be used as an early warning device, and if sales go down, even pinpoint the problem (like distribution and pricing, among others). Budgets for social media in the next 12 months will mostly be spent on social listening tools, content publishing (which requires a creative team), customer service and response and consumer research. Fans and promos would become very secondary as brands mature into the social space and start creating more engaging content and integrating the social experience with offline activation. —CONTRIBUTED

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TAGS: Carat, Dentsu, Dentsu Aegis Network, dentsu X, global network brands, iProspect, Isobar, mcgarrybowen, Merkle, MKTG, Posterscope, Vizeum.
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