February 3, 2012
Comments Off on How South African Brands Should be Using Social Media

How South African Brands Should be Using Social Media

With the unprecedented boom of social media, many brands are still trying to figure out the space. Ad agencies have jumped on board this band wagon and tacked on social media to their offerings, including social ad campaigns, account management and online reputation management.

We can probably all agree that social media brand presences can be used to connect with their audiences, share relevant content and keep their consumers in the loop with what’s happening. However, brands have not yet come to realize that they are sitting on a goldmine of data ready to be mined.

I’m not talking about social media monitoring, which is also critical to keeping up to date with a brand’s health in realtime. I’m talking about a relatively new market opening up – social media analytics. Its about extracting social media consumer insights from the wealth of online conversations, profiles and connections. These insights can be aligned with the brand’s marketing and social media strategies in order to maximize the effectiveness of things like advertising spend, audience identification, discovering unique trends and maximizing return on engagement of brand related content.

We all know that advertising is not dead – advertising budgets are shifting to the digital and online ad spend is set to surpass traditional. Both Facebook and Google earn an overwhelming majority of their revenue from advertising. Social media analytics can be used as a tool to increase the ROI of ad spend by aligning content, copy and distribution of ads according to the insights given from social media audiences.

When a brand starts using social media as a research tool a lot of interesting insights become available.

Brand Auditing

One can evaluate brand related conversations on social media channels to better understand how the brand is being discussed in those channels, the differences across the channels and whether there are notable circles of influence in specific channels that can be engaged with.

Audience Identification

More than just demographic profiling, one can identify existing consumer segments or discover new segments within social channels that have not been optimally engaged with. Understanding a brand’s audiences’ emotional affinities and interests paves the way to laser focused social media and advertising campaigns that target the individuals that would respond most to that message.

Brand Perceptions

One can discover what resonates with the brand’s audience based on the way the audience interacts with and mentions the brand on social media channels.  With a large enough profiling of conversations, it is possible to determine market perception directly from the word of mouth of the brand’s online followers. Additionally, imagine the possibilities of connecting these perceptions with niche interests the segment may have, such as certain celebrities, music, fashion, sports or food.

Trend Discovery

Finding trending topics that your customer base is talking about is critical to understanding the kind of content they want to engage with. Social media is very much a real-time medium, and if a brand can stay on top of the trends as they occur it becomes very easy to resonate with their audience.  You can also determine unique insights such as the reach and engagement of each piece of content to determine the media equivalent value (MEV).

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