helping brands make perfect sense of social media, from IAB UK’s social media council

By Andy Pilkington, WaveMetrix,

As social media becomes an increasingly important and influential marketing tool, more and more brands are competing for consumer engagement within the space. Whether it’s fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter, brands now recognise social media as the next big step in marketing.
There are various techniques and avenues available to help brands grow an online following. WaveMetrix took a look at the various approaches taken by different brands in Q4 2010 in order to analyse what strategies seemed to work most effectively.
•    Premium brands are beginning to shape discussion around the lifestyle associated with the brand, rather than their specific products
•    Other brands are encouraging product-specific discussion, which tends to drive purchase consideration, but also leads to some consumer negativity
•    Campaigns that linked social media back into real world events helped drive engagement with the brand
•    Tried and tested competitions and giveaways are continuing to work well
•    Some brands are building on existing consumer engagement and beginning to monetise social media
Premium brands: less about products and more about lifestyle
During Q4 2010, premium brands like Lacoste, Chanel and Burberry used non-product specific social media content in order to focus consumer attention on the brand lifestyle, rather than the specific product offering.

For example, under the slogan “Bands Burberry believes in”, with Facebook fans readily engaging in the wider brand culture and the “Burberry way of life”.

Burberry chart4blog

Building product-centric discussion: purchase consideration at the price of some negativity
Brands like Gucci, Xbox and BMW encouraged a tighter focus on specific products by promoting product related material.  This led consumers to actively say they were considering purchasing, but also stimulated some criticism of the specific product.

For example, BMW successfully engaged consumers with their new models and this drove some potential owners to explicitly say they were “considering” a BMW. However, high levels of product discussion also led to 34% of product comments being negative, with “impractical” BMW models criticised.

BMW chart4blog

The real world: linking social media to reality helps drive engagement

Using social media to promote real-world events and initiatives worked well towards the end of 2010. Consumers showed interest in tangible events and brands used this to drive footfall in store.

For example, Smirnoff invited consumers across the globe to use social media to share ideas for their ideal night out and then promptly made those ideas a reality through the Nightlife Exchange Party. HMV used a simpler but nonetheless effective approach, employing social media to promote in-store events and drive footfall.

Tried and tested techniques still work in the social media world

Traditional marketing techniques like competitions and giveaways continued to work well in Q4 2010. Corona, Netgear, Sony Ericsson and Pizza Express all used simple competitions and giveaways to drive engagement from current fans and capture new audiences.

Monetising social media: the next step?

The end of 2010 saw a few brands take the first steps into monetising social media. Panasonic provided exclusive offers and discounts for Facebook fans and allowed them to purchase directly through an integrated Facebook store. The strategy drove significant interest, with 34% of discussion focusing on these exclusive offers and consumers “loving” the “great offers available”.

panasonic image4blog

See below for the full summary deck, or you can investigate some of the specific campaign case studies on our website.

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