Is social marketing enough to crack the digital space?

To leverage digital to its optimum, marketers need to target the right niche by playing on the strengths of owned and earned media, in addition to its social strategy

e4m by Saloni Surti
Updated: Jul 3, 2013 9:30 AM
Is social marketing enough to crack the digital space?

Understanding the limitations and boundaries of exploiting social media is tricky business. A number of times, brands have been accused of not thinking through the content strategy on social pages. Brands are seen coming up with content that does not add value to the consumer experience and also comes across as ‘over done content’ for it is not being able to reach out to the correct niche.

For instance, banks often promote their services on social networking pages, which come across as mere promotion as they fail to translate their social presence into what that particular bank stands for.

To leverage digital to its optimum strength, marketers need to use the medium for its intrinsic strength and reach out to the right niche, with relevant activities along with their social media strategy.

“We believe that the brands need to develop a digital strategy that includes strategic plan for the creation, delivery and governance of useful and usable content strategy. This strategy needs to span across all the relevant channels – Bought, Owned and Earned,” explained Shubhradeep Guha, Global Capability Lead and India Business Lead, SapientNitro.

Attracting the right niche through owned digital media many a times becomes difficult due to a number of reasons including lack of fresh content, lack in investments and small campaign duration.

Create content that represents the brand
Tata Tea’s longest running campaign ‘Jaago Re’ is one of the best examples of exploiting digital to reach out to the right niche.

The brand created a separate ‘Jaago Re – One Billion Votes’ website that targeted the youth who have not been keen on voting. The website allowed users to register and get access to online voting. The brand also created a ‘Jaago Re’ website that gives viewers an opportunity to create a cause or sign up for various other causes and take action against them. The website gained a lot of traction and also generated fresh content, which was then marketed on their social page.

“A good content plan will look at leveraging each piece across media and create some specifically for individual touch-points. However, we need to plan for original content and invest in it. In an ideal case, have a content framework with fixed variables and the rest create as you go along; not for the sake of it but backed by sufficient real-time insights,” expressed Sudhir Nair, Senior Vice President, Grey Digital.

Pick the right tool
Snickers created an SEO campaign wherein a list of the most searched key words was used. Whenever users made a spelling error while searching for one of those key words, along with the suggestion for the right spelling would come the advertisement that said how human brain is more likely to do a spelling error while hungry. The campaign was executed on the lines of Snickers’ ‘Hungry…grab a Snickers’ campaign.

Pick the right route
Stayfree used a blog to initiate the ‘If it irritates you, change it’ campaign. The brand invited bloggers across the country to write about what they wished to change with the help of a contest. The strategy worked out extremely well for the brand as blogs are picked up directly by search engines; also, they managed to get influential bloggers as their brand ambassadors. The campaign was later promoted rigorously on social media.

Before going ahead with a digital brief, marketers need to educate themselves on the fine line of difference between social media and owned or earned digital media. Only after going through the nature and the duration of the campaign, should brands allocate money on different digital media tools – ranging from owned media to social media to blogs. While social might be the answer to most of the questions, one need not get lost in the glamour and jargon that is tagged to the medium.

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