Recent Gartner survey showed that the top five reasons to invest in social media came under the needs of marketing. Below are those 5 reasons:
1. Strengthen Relationship with Customer
2. Enhance Brand Awareness or Brand Preference
3. Share Information and Ideas With Customers, Suppliers and Partners
4. Establish Interactive Relationship With Customers
5. Increase My Organization’s Revenue Through New Products, Customers
If you look at these top 5 reasons identified by the research you can see that its all about relationships. Fundamentally, its all about how you connect with people. Websites, social sites, mobile apps, social and mobile ads, games and many other elements are becoming the backbone of digital foundation for a brand. In this process a lot of brands are transforming their brand values into the digital world, and only few have become successful in doing that.
Converting these soft touch points in digital space into a meaningful one and one transaction is the biggest challenge. Vanity metrics such as fans, likes, comments and shares only signify the reach of a brand on social media, but not the engagement which has economic value. And most brands are already asking for an engagement which has these economic values.
Social Marketing in 2013 is going to be all about finding these engagement with economic values. Every business has its own set of expectations from social media. Leads, purchases, feedbacks and recommendations are some of the engagement with the highest economic value. Mentioning the brand in itself is not enough, it needs to have some substance. Customers are always complaining about products and services in all sorts of ways. But when a customer provides an insightful feedback giving their time and effort, that is what has the highest economic value. Simply saying so and so product is good is not enough. But when a customer recommends a product to the prospect in public platform, that adds more to the brand value. Fans signing up for your program which brings him/her in direct contact with the brand is much more valuable than a simple like or a comment.
If we are to break down customer interactions in digital world than this is how it usually looks like. They come across your brand, they check out your website, your social profiles, your reputation on review sites and then compare with other before making the decision. Having a great website without no social profiles puts a question mark on your brand. Or having a great social presence with bad reputation in discussion and forums creates a conflict. In today’s market, you are being compared and weighted against everyone out there. Making a good presence and keeping check on your reputation is the fundamental aspect of social marketing. It is only when you keep these aspect on check, you can generate engagement with economic value.
The five point requirement of businesses discovered by Gartner is only the beginning towards this search for better engagement strategies. Its going to wake up a lot of agencies and social media teams to realize the importance of engagement with economic value.