If you’re running a social media campaign you are probably not doing it for fun – you are most likely looking for results which in most cases, is to strengthen and increase brand awareness. But how do we measure up the social campaign’s success and its effectiveness in creating value for the organization in terms of ROI, increased sales or increased market share. This has been a contentious issue since the inception of social networks. Applying the traditional metrics of ROI or established KPIs has failed to deliver the meaningful insights that organization are looking for. This has led to doubts over the usefulness of social media campaigns in the past. However, in recent times the usefulness of social media campaign has been established beyond doubt through the success stories of a large number of brands ranging from various industries. Let’s see what exactly has been the change to understand this shift!


Everyone loves something that’s personal and unique to him or her, even if it is just a drink. It has become very apparent that personalised content is a core focus right now – 78% of consumers feel that brands that create unique and personalised content are more interested in building a relationship with them. A recent study by Intent HQ also found that more than half of Britain’s social media users are willing to share personal information to receive personalised content. If this isn’t enough to focus on personalisation, what is?

User-generated content:

The rising trend in user-generated content that incorporates offline elements is something that has been around a few years, but no brand has been able to succeed quite like Coca-Cola. It has created both a personalised product that’s tangible, along with one that instantly encourages a user to share online – the dream-case scenario. Although Coca-Cola’s personalised campaign is nothing new, this simple concept has encouraged vast numbers of people to buy and share the brand in both the real and the virtual world. It reiterates the importance of brand perception, along with the use of advertising and social media to influence and alter consumer experience.


Mass market penetration:

Most campaigns that launch social media campaigns have a core target demographic in mind. For example Coca-Cola’s campaign, focused on 18-25-year-olds. Any consumer aged between 13-60 could essentially take part without feeling excluded. Today’s consumers want to feel unique, and giving users something affordable and personalised is a key way to succeed. Some may argue that certain groups were eliminated because the campaign was limited to 150 names, but we will always have a degree of exclusion.

Improved measuring tools for the social media engagement:

Usually social media campaigns have three phases.

  • Create a brand presence across social channels
  • Engage with customers and prospects via these social channels
  • Analyse the effectiveness of their social media efforts

Most organizations had a plan when it came to the first two, but were struggling with the third because they used Social Media “Analytics” as a tracking engagement rather than understanding the overall impact of the activities by putting them in context. So how did some organization achieve the effective measuring mechanism? Let’s see below:

Campaign Analysis: This is one of the most popular marketing activities when it comes to social media, and what most marketers struggle with is calculating the ROI on a given campaign.  Why?  Well, usually because you need the dollars spent on the campaign and the dollars generated to perform the ROI calculation.  The engagement-level data generated by social media platforms will help you analyze the if, when, and how much activity took place on the individual platforms but to put that in context you’ll need website traffic and financials.  That data typically lives in different systems, so to do effective campaign analysis you need to start bringing that data together. Another example is when a person responds negatively on social media about a brand, it’s important to understand the association that person has with the brand. Is he an existing customer or not. This data could only come from other systems and not social media.

Cross Channel Feedback Analysis: Social media has become just another channel your customers interact with your organization.  They provide feedback and submit questions just like they’d send an email to a help desk, or pick up the phone to call the call centre.  From an organizational perspective there is tremendous value in analysing this holistically rather than the silo’d approach many take today.  You may respond differently depending on the channel the feedback is coming in.   For example, if you are seeing a spike in negativity about a product on social media, but you aren’t seeing that same spike across your help desks, online forums, or call centres, then maybe you respond with a digital marketing campaign.  However, if the spike in negativity is consistent across all the channels you may have to make a bigger problem.

Thus, the effect of social media campaigns may have little or no little impact on brand’s awareness earlier but currently things have changed with the innovations we spoke above. Brands utilizing them would stand to gain!


Social Media Marketing vs Conventional Marketing Communications

Social media marketing is very different from conventional marketing. A product which has much higher market share, may be low on Social Media ranking. It means social media ranking has nothing to do with the product ranking. However, in conventional marketing product market share is most of the time proportional to marketing efforts (ranking). Many a times consumer talk about a product without even owning it. For example on social media consumers will talk more about a health product (example, Cheerios is an American brand of breakfast cereal) to show other customers that they are health conscious. So social media rank of the product depends on the band association or theme which a product represents to the customers, irrespective of whether then customers own or do not own the product. Example – More number of customers talk about Rolex on social media than who actually buy it.

The power of content aggregation
Social media marketing follows the principle of content aggregation and screening. It is more influential than other forms of “traditional” communication when it comes to spreading your message. To explain, reviews from trusted resources (including channels such as social media and word of mouth testimonials) have a value 12.85 times greater than paid media (broadcast, radio, and other types of traditional advertising). Therefore, there’s no amount of paid advertising that can realistically overcome a deficiency of earned media. Thanks to the real-time, public nature of the web, marketing and PR have been supercharged and we are now able to maximize this other half of the messaging model. Though this model has always existed, word of mouth tended to resist scale and relied largely on one-to-one or one-to-many interactions. The dawning of the digital age has introduced unprecedented scaling capabilities to many of our communications. Because of the introduction of scale – borne largely of digital technologies – earned media and reviews from trusted sources have never been so accessible, obtainable, con-temporarily relevant, and critical for an organization to succeed.

Disproportionate influences on market behavior
Digital platforms like web, mobile, and social media currently have the highest efficacy among marketing channels in terms of overall, weighted value (contemplative of the market’s perceived trust, and reach and amplification capability of various communication channels). This is especially true compared to more “traditional” channels such as radio and printed materials. In fact, the weighted values attributed to these channels have experienced dramatic decreases. Instead, people are looking to social and web-based platforms to acquire the intelligence to inform their decision-making processes – and these platforms play a significant role as the go-to source for information on leisure activities.

Social media involves evolving technologies and platforms
Unlike largely “fixed,” static media such as print and radio, the mechanisms by which digital messages are delivered and the context within which individual members of the market receive these messages is constantly in-flux. Social media and digital communications depend on rapid innovation, changing platforms, and evolving social mentalities that sink or swim in real-time. They require a strategic flexibility to succeed, and often necessitate experimentation in order to understand how to best reach particular audiences through online engagement. The classic marketing texts of the past remained relevant for decades because – arguably until now – organizations could have one spokesperson, they did have the time to prepare responses before meeting the press, and they could leave a lot more behind closed doors.

Engagement through Transparency
With social media the world has become more transparent and people want to know more about the brands that they support. In the past, organizations could often divulge only what they wished, but now organizations must answer straightforward questions posed on public platforms in real-time, or watch their reputation and consumer-base shrink also in real-time. In short, this change challenges the way that many in the past have been taught to “communicate with the press.” In today’s world, organizations communicate directly with the public. And they need to be likeable and relatable.

Real-time and 24/7
Though it was historically done more passively, brands have always been building relationships in real-time – even while the CEO or other appointed spokesperson was off the clock. People have spread valuable word of mouth messages at cocktail parties and talked shop on the back nine of a golf course for generations. However, from a broad public perspective, it was generally understood that an organization’s “real people” were not accessible outside of the historic “nine to five” workday. Today, the real-time nature of digital platforms have made organizations accessible at all hours and in all situations. The public especially utilizes these platforms during moments of crisis. Moreover, organizations are expected to respond to inquiries on social media platforms in real time. Unlike traditional media that runs as per a schedule and a plan, social media requires active management and necessitates the implementation of real-time PR strategies.

Does success in Social Media guarantee overall marketing success?

With the increasing use of Social Media marketing as opposed to traditional marketing, it is becoming an interesting discussion to gauge how integral social media is today, to overall marketing success. Firstly, it is important to understand not to equate number of followers with a successful social media strategy. Followers may in fact not be translating to increasing buying of the product. Coca Cola, for example has over 2.76 million followers on Twitter, and yet is experiencing falling sales as consumers continue to switch to healthier drinks.

Social Media should complement the overall strategy of the brand, and cannot be a replacement. At least not yet until the platform continues to mature. If the overall marketing strategy is not innovative enough, social media may not be enough to save a sinking ship.

The impact of Social media can be multifaceted if utilized properly. Taking the recent examples of Indian election campaign in which PM candidate Narendra Modi effectively utilized social media channels like twitter, Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp to reach millions of voters in shortest possible time at the least cost. Media channels act as a platform to engage and influence the voters. The dedicated team was managed by professionals and the target was to influence the voter behavior.

Similarly 2014 Delhi election saw the highest usage of social media campaign by all the competing parties. The largest vote was garnered by the AAP party which had dedicated departments comprising of experienced social media managers to manage the campaign.

On the other hand, there exist several situations where campaigns were extremely successful in social media, leading to huge number of likes/ posts/ comments/ tweets etc. But there was not a big change in the sales figures post the campaign. For example, in March of 2014, Samsung, in collaboration with Ellen was responsible for creating the record for the most re-tweeted message in history. During the 2014 Academy Awards, Samsung had Ellen take a selfie with her Samsung Galaxy along with a host of other stars which generated a huge amount of buzz for Samsung, and, incidentally, for Twitter. If, however we look at Samsung Galaxy sales before and after the Award ceremony, it is hard to say that there has been a huge jump in sales for Samsung.

Engaging in social media strategies is definitely worth doing, building relationships and dialogue with existing and potential customers can only be a good thing, also considering the limited spending required in Social media as compared to traditional marketing. Companies however need to keep in mind that Social Media is an ongoing conversation and benefits may be better realized over the long term. Social Media leads to not only direct sales increase but an overall awareness and buzz about the brand.

In terms of reach and impact Social media is gaining momentum; currently it can complement the existing channels of marketing but in long term with increasing internet penetration, mobile connectivity, speed of communication social media would definitely end up surpassing the traditional media.


With more than 100 million users on Facebook and 18 million on Twitter, India is increasingly experiencing a growing number of social media campaigns every year. There were some very good social media campaigns over the last 2 years and I would like to highlight few of my favourites.



According to me, PM Modi’s campaign was the most successful social media campaigns in India so far that made him victorious. It was the first election where social media played such an important role and became a direct means of information and engagement across the country. Undoubtedly, this was India’s first election with such large-scale usage of technology, open-access internet platforms to connect, build conversations, share, mobilize opinion, and citizen action.

There were 58m tweets related to the elections between the start of 2014 and the announcement of Mr Modi’s victory, according to data published by Twitter India, with more than 2m posted on results day itself, estimates which were based only on popular search terms and may well be a vast underestimate. Such was the effect of his social media campaign that International press crowned him the title of “The Social PM” after his victory.

From Google Hangouts to social networks, Mr. Modi used a variety of online tools to gauge public opinion during his campaign and the same strategies are being used now to build consensus while in government. And that resulted in his victory, as he chose his audiences well for social media marketing. More than 40% of the voters were first time voters in 2014 election and most of the crowd was from young generation.

To look at some facts, among politicians, Mr. Modi ranks second behind only Barack Obama in number of fans of his official Facebook page (Mr. Modi has 21.8 million and counting). No other political leader is even close. His Twitter account and that of his office are among the fastest growing among politicians and elected officials worldwide. Among public figures who have some political sway, he trails only Mr. Obama, the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis in Twitter followers, with 6.62 million


With over 10 million fans on the Facebook page, Nat Geo India decided to promote their show CoverShot through a ‘My NatGeo Cover Shot’ contest on Facebook. Participants could experience the thrill of having their photo as a NatGeo magazine cover. Followers had to upload their photos and caption it, entering them in the contest through the Facebook app to create a virtual cover page. They also had the chance to win travel packages. This garnered over 18K photos. This earned National Geographic 3.8 million additional likes even though it wasn’t a requirement for the contest.

The USP of the campaign was that participants could download this image as well as share it on Facebook and Twitter with their friends and followers. Every week participants with the best shots were announced as winners on the show. Thanks to the contest the FB page currently has 13.8 million likes even though there was no need to ‘like’ the page to be able to participate.

The campaign success could be measured by the fact that Nag Geo India had launched the contest again – Nat Geo Cover Shot 2, which had already received more than 13k likes so far and still counting.


Oreo India launched a Facebook-led social media campaign which made them the fastest growing Facebook pages in the world at that time. The brand created content units which connected it with an important event of the day on which the post was made.

For example, on June 21, it posted a visual update reminding people that it was the longest day of the year, an obvious fact. But to connect it with the brand, it used a stretched pack of Oreo biscuits.

The first thing you notice about the posts is the use of the product and its packaging as a visual device to explain the event that it talks about in the post. For example, in the following image, posted on June 06 when Tetris (the famous video game) was released, an Oreo biscuit has been broken into small pieces to resemble Tetris blocks. Later on, Oreo India also took its ‘Daily dunks’ initiative to the community by launching Dunkathon.

The brand should be considered an example in the way it used Facebook to spread interesting content. Oreo India’s Facebook page has taken its cue from Amul’s print campaign and created content units which connect the brand with an important event of the day on which the post is made.

Another thing that we noticed in all the posts is the use of hash tags. The brand’s hashtag, #DailyDunks, was not the only one being used, but it also piggybacked on the hashtag relevant for the days. For example, it used the hashtag #DoctorsDay on July 01 with a relevant image to celebrate Doctor’s Day. The use of these varied hashtags acted well to amplify its reach.

The other most important thing was the use of the concept of Daily Dunks to set the frequency of the posts it made during the campaign. Contrary to the advice given by almost all social media experts, Oreo India made just one post on its Facebook Wall in a day, during the campaign, with the exception of some odd days when it made more than one posts. And that completely made the difference. The same post, photo, hashtag got shared thousands of times across social media creating enormous brand image and awareness.


‘Brand Signature’ is all about glamour, style and making an impression. The brand has been continually associated with fashion shows and celebrity fashion icons, within India and globally, influencing fashion experts and budding fashionistas.

To tap into this community of young trendsetters, Signature launched a two-month long campaign purely through a mobile app – the Signature Selfie app. Designed for and targeted at the 18-32 age group, urban, fashion conscious consumers, who are regular users of apps, social sharing and websites, the campaign provided them with a platform to showcase their ‘Signature Style’ and also win in the process.

Signature roped in fashion photographer Atul Kasbekar to select the most stylish signature selfie and teamed up with digital agency Experience Commerce to execute the same. While the top five most voted selfies won prizes every week, one of them won a private portfolio shoot with Atul.

The ‘Selfies’ app mirrored the bold concept of self-expression, positive narcissism, the culture of self-love and creative identities. But while, Selfie is a cultural phenomenon – it wasn’t just any selfie; it was the ‘fashion’ selfie branded as – The Signature Selfie’.

The idea was to enable every individual to take a fashionable selfie and easily share it. One had to sign up with Facebook or Twitter to get started on the app. The innovative 5-second timer made it easy to pose and just have enough time to give it your best pout

Atul Kasbekar and the model and actress Lisa Haydon launched the campaign at the Signature Fashion Weekender at Mumbai – with a YouTube release of his video tips and the campaign website launch.

In the next few weeks, the app for iOS and Android was launched and Selfies took off on social media. Each week was about a theme to express in – ‘Make an Impression’, ‘Shades of Glasses’, ‘Play Hard’ and ‘Party Shots’. Inspiring content was created by leading fashion bloggers and curated from the latest trends in the world ove

The campaign gained traction from the word go and was a big success with more than 16,900 entries and 29,614 page views. The users appreciated the technicality of the app calling it an “incredibly convenient” way to take better pictures.

For the two months that the campaign ran, the app saw a total of 29.2K iOS downloads and 45,181 Android downloads. Thousands participated and the number of selfies clicked and uploaded reached over 9500, with voters frantically voting for their favourites. Total number of votes reached around 17,000 with the winner receiving over 200 votes.

Social Media marketing vs. Conventional marketing

Conventional marketing communications were focused on the 4Ps – Product, promotion, price and placement. The fundamentals of conventional marketing although are used for social marketing as well but there are lot of difference that set them apart. Marketers try to relate social media marketing with conventional marketing every now and then but the stark difference between them can be seen.

Conventional marketing is 2-sided, it focuses on the consumers and suppliers whereas social media marketing is n-sided, and it takes into consideration all the users in the value chain. Social media marketing with its wide reach can cater to everyone on a single platform.

Conventional marketing has supply side emphasis, whereas social media marketing has demand side emphasis. Supply side emphasis makes the marketing product centric, where value creation for the consumer is low, on the other hand demand side emphasis makes marketing consumer centric, consumer is the centre of transaction and hence this ensures value creation for the consumer.

Conventional marketing answer the question why? As in why our product, why us ? whereas social media marketing answers the question why not?, with plethora of users online and utilizing and generating content online, it makes them ponder why not them? I think this is an approach which gives the user surety of purchasing products without any glitch.

Conventional marketing focuses on content creation whereas social media focuses on content aggregation.  Also the former has linear returns to scale whereas the latter has profound network effects.

Conventional marketing has prioritized and limited resources to find and convert new prospects. Conventional marketing finds the consumers, converts them and then keeps them. The consumers are hard –earned and keeping them at the bottom of the funnel is a bad signal for the consumers. But social media marketing has changed the game, the funnel is inverted for social media marketing where it gives marketers the opportunity to influence the consumers before and after the sale. Social media marketing is a low cost tool and it is successful in keeping the consumers glued to the brand if done in a right way.

Social media marketing communicates directly with the consumer; it addresses their needs there and then. Consumers can raise their concerns and can get them resolved then and there. Moreover, consumers are aware of current happenings and the updates are very frequent. Conventional marketing is a very methodical approach where the visibility to consumers is quite low.

And not to forget is the cost associated with these marketing techniques, conventional marketing has very high costs.

 In US, the average cost of producing a 30-second national TV commercial is nearly $400000 whereas there is very less cost associated with social media marketing. You can create your posts, videos, campaigns online, make them viral and at no cost.

Example: MTV is a popular TV channel known for marketing their brand in very innovative ways. Earlier, MTV used to market themselves through print ads, hoardings and their naïve static website. They generated a fan following but then consumers wanted more, live updates help them stick to their site. MTV is one of the brands that has used social media very creatively. They are prompt in replying to users on social media. Their twitter handles are trending and the reach is now much huge. Live streaming features helps users to stay connected on the go and increase loyalty for the brand. One such campaign is No Sleep Till Brooklyn,

The MTV press team came up with a fun and interesting visual rollout idea and worked closely with the digital and marketing teams to use our social platforms to tell a story of the Moonman’s migration. The concept of the MTV Moonman taking “selfies” of himself, much like our audience does, as he embarked on the #RoadToTheVMAs was easy to follow and relate to and allowed for fans to enter at any given point and quickly catch-up. By creatively utilizing the Moonman, MTV’s symbol for the hottest night in music, and combining it with the rich iconography of New York City and Brooklyn, we were able to announce that the VMAs are heading to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center in a visually appealing way.

To know more visit 

Campaign’s success in Social Media and Brand’s Success

Brands can’t measure social media success without knowing their business objective. Brands need to establish goals before the start of a social media campaign and determine what kind of tracking measures they need to implement upfront. Goals may include generating revenue, reducing customer service costs, shifting brand sentiment, improving operational efficiency, cultivating customer relationships or gleaning insight into target markets. It is possible that a campaign in social media has been very successful and created a lot of buzz but failed to achieve the business objectives.

In order to get the most of a social media campaign, it is very important to have the social media campaign aligned with the business objectives and other marketing activities. Social media’s popularity is increasing very fast and not just among consumers. Progressively more brands are seeing the value of social media too and everyone is trying to get their piece of the action. That being said, very few brands have produced unique, mind-blowing social media campaigns. One reason for this might be that most brands still see social media as a ‘free platform’ which translates into brands not being prepared to spend money on creating a proper social media strategy. This is a great pity as a properly conceptualised and well-executed social media campaign not only compliments other marketing activities, but also serves as a platform to connect and engage with current and potential clients.

The important question to ask is when a social media campaign can be considered successful? Does the success of a campaign is social media guarantee brand’s success in overall marketing terms? Answers to these questions really depends on the campaign’s unique goals, but there are some important factors that contribute to a campaign’s success including:

  • Integrating the social media campaign with your brand’s current marketing activities and keeping the brand message consistent
  • Realising that in the case of social media, the consumer is in charge and not always the brand
  • Considering social media as a long-term marketing activity and not a once-off solution to boost a promotion
  • Using an employee or agency that is familiar with the brand’s policies and general social networking rules as the brand’s social media voice

There are many more factors that influence the success of a social media campaign but, as always, it is important to lay the right foundation with a detailed social media strategy. When creating a social media strategy the decision as to which social networks to utilise can be overwhelming but it’s important to realise that your brand can’t be everywhere. Many brands jump on the bandwagon for the sake of ‘doing social media’ and create profiles on every social network they come across. These profiles are then left and forgotten about.  That is not a social media strategy. Start building on your strategy’s foundation by researching which social networks your target audience are spending their time on and focus your resources there.  Secondly, determine what type of content you are going to publish on your social networks and how you are going to engage with followers and fans.

To summarize, a campaign’s success in social media may not necessarily guarantee brand’s success but if the social media campaign is successful and also able to achieve the set goals and objectives, then we can say that the campaign has helped the brand succeed in marketing terms.

Does a campaign’s success in social media guarantee the brand’s success in overall marketing terms?

Most companies want to have a relationship with their customers. They’re trying to earn that customer’s loyalty, and they’re trying to earn future sales from that person. That means building a longer term relationship & social media provides a robust platform to do that.

It is likely that even though a brand succeeds at having a strong social media presence & loyal following, it fails in its overall marketing goals.

For example, people might like the campaign for its fun/humor element and even though there is a lot of discussion on social media about the campaign itself, there’s not much sales conversion that happens which beats the marketing goals. The Old Spice campaign that we saw in the class ads had a lot of female following, however, it wasn’t successful in generating sales which would lead us to question the value of a successful social media campaign.

Similarly, there could be numerous other factors which could contribute to marketing not getting the desired results from a successful social media campaign.

  • The campaign was successful, but the final buying/conversion process turned the customer away. While the users love how the brand treats them online, they aren’t quite happy with the other aspects involved with the product, hence their engagement is limited.
  • Target customer segment is different from the ones who are active on social media. For example, kids could be super-active about a brand but don’t have the decision making power and money to buy the product/service. Similarly who the Old Spice case, where women were involved but that didn’t result in men buying it.
  • Difference between actual & perceived users could mean that while social media users love to publicly talk about & engage with the brand, their actual persona is different and doesn’t really associate with the brand. Example, people like to be seen as health conscious and would talk in running forums etc. but when it comes to using a fitness product such as a shoe etc might shy away or be too lazy.

However, people buy from companies and brands that they recognize and trust. That have some kind of relationship with them. So don’t use social media to sell per-se. But to get, initially at least, attention. Promote good relevant content, run contests, create an identity in your industry first. Once people recognize that you don’t just blast your company’s PR all over the place, but share stuff they like (give good advice, relevant info etc.) and find useful, they will follow and like your activities.

Social media can give your company many benefits – it can increase awareness, introduce you to new people, help with customer service (real time customer service!), follow-up with angry customers etc.

Through your social media efforts, you might have been able to develop trust with prospects; therefore, if you continue to show thought leadership in helping them to make a decision, they will be more likely to purchase from you rather than the competitor they don’t have a relationship with.

The key is to not be limited to social media but extend that relationship. Once you have their attention, it’s time to drive them off of Facebook/Twitter/Forums and into your website. In there you have total control over the environment and thus can work your conversions magic.

Once you are successful in social media, keep nurturing the relationship by providing something of value on a regular basis. Over time they’ll develop trust in you and might even like you. Then they’ll be ready to buy from you. It’s definitely a long term strategy, but one that will pay off handsomely in the end.