The clear answer to this question is NO. This is the top vs bottom story, top being ranking in terms of brand success and bottom being the ranking in terms of social media success. The top and bottom are sometimes entirely different.
The reasons are the following:
The purpose of a social media campaign at the outset is to strengthen relationships by understanding the customer more, creating trust and commitment with the customers. The social media campaigns unlike conventional marketing do not approach marketing as product selling but as solution selling and generating engagement with the customer. A successful social media campaign may help understand the customers better through a good engagement which in turn may give inputs in terms of improvement of the product but may not result in an overall brand success in terms of a better image or brand recall.
Targeting is extremely important in the social media space to focus attention towards a particular set of audience. Also, we need to decide that whom do we need to target to make the purchase. An example of a successful social media campaign that did not result in any new sales is that of ‘Old Spice’ . Old Spice targeted women so that they can convince their men to wear the better fragrance of Old Spice but that did not succeed in convincing the men to use Old Spice although they were the main purchasers and users. In this case also, the campaign was extremely successful as the women kept tweeting about it and twitter got down as it could not take the load of the heavy traffic due to this campaign. But since the targeting was to the wrong person – the girls instead of the men who purchase the product, it did not generate any sales.
- Content Creator Vs Content collaborator
In social media campaigns the marketer is a content collaborator just like customers. He may try to provide direction to the discussion and the activity but he has limited control on the buzz that is generated. Hence it becomes increasingly difficult for the social media marketer to achieve his goals of brand success rather than the audience goals of just talking and sharing interesting content and going in the direction they please.
So, Does Social Media Success ever lead to Brand Success ?
In a research, it was asked to top brands on what is the one thing that you use to measure social media ROI. Ford says that they talk about Social Media’s impact on brand perception, at Comcast. they are keen on the idea of customer satisfaction and at Dell it means customer loyalty. Incase of clear definition of social media ROI into these one-dimensional parameters which clearly lead to brand success, the success of the social media campaign success will lead to brand success.