The social media marketing age has brought in a new dimension to all the marketing campaigns. It is ‘engagement’. Conventional marketing campaigns were thought of keeping ‘customer centricity’ in mind. But social media takes this phrase literally.
All that Google did in its nascence was ranking the web pages & re-ranking them every time based on how users responded to search result Google threw at them. Yahoo on other end focused on quality of search results based on what few hundred experts thought were best for any term keyed in by any user.
A funny analogy for above scenario can be capitalism vs. socialism. Users were deciding their own preferences & Google only facilitated that. It was not like a rationed distribution of data / knowledge resources that Yahoo did.
The whole pyramid of social media is founded on extent of it being open for everybody to contribute to, share from, refer to & use from. Response of users through all these activities is ‘screening’ of any content that users are provided.
Benefits of Screening:
The content aggregation is achieved through so many users posting on a social media thread. These may be likes, comments & sharing of experience. Engagement of consumers is achieved in Merimaggi campaign (http://goo.gl/zxLOqA) by asking them to share experiences they had while eating, sharing or distributing maggi in various backdrops.
The more users join in to discuss & share their experiences, the more is the chance that the content reaches the masses. This type of screening decides the success of a campaign. Value of a product for a consumer is hence decided by screening responses.
Risks to a campaign from screening:
Any campaign on social media is open for posts from critics as well. Merimaggi facebook campaign on its first page has some comments about the type of preservatives in Maggi. Such posts are inevitable but the marketer can still recoup the lost ground by giving a genuine sincere response to such posts. Such response can be a fact backed by data or research or a technical detail.
The genuineness of a campaign is also based on how open & accessible the marketer is to the criticism. If the campaign comes out without scathes from all such truth tests then the marketers have gained what they were looking for – the trust of consumer.
Finally the campaigns that withstand such screening don’t guarantee the ROI. The marketer may be left with having to go back to conventional marketing schemes such as coupons & promotional discounts if the product is still on shelves after the social media campaign as happened in the case of Old Spice twitter campaign.
But the bottom line remains that the online chatter cannot be bought & only users decide how much to talk. The engagement of consumers happens laterally & may or may not convert into actual sales. But again, this true in case of conventional marketing also. What really matters in this new age of social media campaigning is whether you can withstand the screening.