Earn Social Trust Or Burn Ad-Spend


It has been predicted that advertisers will be spending $23.68 Billion on social media across the globe in 2015. Social media’s appeal for brands who want to reach out to customers is big. A lot of well-known B2C brands regularly spend a considerable chunk of their marketing budget on social media. Broadly speaking, money spent on social media goes towards gaining followers and engaging them to stay on top of their mind and create awareness about latest offerings.

It’s the new word-of-mouth

Almost every brand will agree that social media is a critical part of their marketing efforts. Few may agree that it is a tricky medium to get around. The reason being, social media is all about word-of-mouth and unfortunately it can’t be bought. If you are an MNC brand it’s quite possible that you are running paid promotional campaigns across 3 or 5 different social networks. This will help you create a buzz and also gain some following, but only because you promise to offer a prize of some sort in return.

Trust is earned

Doing paid promotions is not a bad strategy for a brand that is starting fresh on social media. This way you will catch your audience’s attention who will look forward to more ‘fun’ stuff. However, the moment you stop organizing contests and giving away freebies is the moment you will realize your audience engagement drifting away from you.

Marketing gurus don’t refer to social media as an ‘earned media’ for nothing.

Your content should be compelling enough to spark engagement. It should not only resonate with the ethos of your audience but also establish your brand as a thought leader.

Bite sized and intriguing content is the order of the day

Your brand should be able to lead the pack for whatever fits in with your brand’s personality: Fun, Adventure, Indulgence, Sophistication, Bold, Reliable, Performance etc. Social media is ruled by content that is confined to 140 characters, image size limitations, short videos and infographics. The new social savvy audience has warmed up to bite sized content. If brands want to build an engrossing story around themselves then only a series of catchy messages will do.

Ensure that your content is nothing short of brilliant

The average individual requires a plethora of products or services to go through every second of everyday. Starting with the choice of beverage in the morning to the pair of pajamas one slips into at night, a number of brands are vying for attention. The global audience that advertisers are trying to reach out to through spending billions of dollars is the kind who is always on the lookout for options. As a brand marketer if you want to make your paid reach count, it better be oozing with awesomeness.

Awesome social talent = awesome content

Social media content is confined to engaging only two of our five senses: sight and sound. Now if you want to create cute little packets of content to entice your audience then you need the right talent pool. Depending on the nature of your brand, you will be needing any of these: Copywriters, Content Writers, Graphic Designers, Script Writers, Storyboard Artists, Film Directors, Audio Engineers and Film Editors. Since the success of your social media outreach depends on these resources you will have to seek strong references. Not all agencies can absorb all types of resources, so they have to hire freelancers from time to time. Freelance hubs like Elance let agencies evaluate such freelancers on various parameters.

Listen and earn advocates

Create word of mouth by turning a sour situation around. The social media space is abuzz with customer complaints particularly from industries such as telecom, banking, travel, hospitality, insurance & financial services.  Without a listening tool, brands are at the risk of damaging their reputation if complaints are ignored. No brand knowingly ignores complaints, but are limited by the reach of the tool they are using. Brands and agencies should give particular attention to the variety of sources from which their current tool pulls conversations from. It is advisable to seek trial of at least 5 different tools and compare not only quantity but also quality of conversations. There is no fun in sifting through advertising messages and paying for them.

Listening to customers and resolving issues can turn complainants into advocates. The word of mouth that your brand seeks will come from those who have experienced the speed of your complaints resolution. Brand advocates are more receptive to brand communications and engagement. Such positive interactions with your audience will help you earn their trust.

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