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We’re never the same with Social Media

Anyone who will say that the online media in the Philippines is at its infancy is probably stuck a decade ago. Many will agree that it hasn’t yet reached stability and maturity, but can be likened to a teenager experiencing its most active and exciting stage in in life.   You can say that online media as an avenue for communication is at the stage of trials and explorations.

Naturally, many brands have embraced the digital space and we’ve witnessed many successful campaigns launched in the recent years.  We’ve seen successful use of online media only campaigns, 360 media campaigns with online media at the helm, viral campaigns, and more innovative best practices using online media.

Social Media is Internet on Steroids

Omnicom Media Group CEO Nic Gabunada says, “Internet today is no longer a passive search media for information and entertainment. It is now easier for content and communication to reach target audiences through potent netizens’ push via sharing and content creation in social media. Like a storm surge, social media particularly Facebook has swept the country with practically every Filipino netizen (93%) on Facebook according to Nielsen’s Consumer and Media View (Q2 2014).”

To say that social media is a bandwagon that every advertiser would like to ride on, is an understatement. It’s more like a bullet train that will leave you behind if you’re not fast enough to take it.   Traditional advertising on its own still delivers the goods, but with new brands and retail shops online sprouting like mushrooms, you wouldn’t want to join the social media fray on a catch up mode.

We are frequently asked, is a Facebook fanpage necessary in a campaign or in a brand’s existence?   The straight and simple answer is “no”, but if you happen to already have one, we may say that social media management is “mandatory”.

Not for Everyone

Putting up a Facebook fanpage is not as convenient as setting up your personal Facebook account.   It is an entirely different beef from the alphabet soup that you’ve come to enjoy and mastered using ATL media. One cannot just barge in, shout out an ad slogan and brandish a logo, thinking that it’s free and expect great results.

It requires maintenance from a dedicated team who will constantly come up with content and ideas and will keep a diligent watch, to make your market constantly engaged with only the relevant brand communications, information and entertainment. Definitely not for a faint-hearted brand who doesn’t have the knowledge and machinery to invest time, effort and money.   You want your target consumers to see the brand dynamic and happening.

One should be cautioned though that social media is not as simple and straight forward as traditional ATL media planning and buying of airtime and ad spaces. It’s so much more than ad exposure. Even seasoned marketing experts fumble in this thing called “new media”.

 Social Media Management is Mandatory

With social media, communication is not as fleeting as a flick of a page or a 30 second airing. We should all be happy with a lengthened exposure, but you would not like it when netizens are taking too much time and already getting their hands on your material. Yesterday, you were just glad your refreshed logo has gone through the rigorous approval process and has been released in public. Today, the netizens tell the world what they think with no holds barred #swallowthis.

It’s inescapable. Brands have to adapt to the unforgiving and evolving culture of social media, where not only exposure and cut-through ideas and executions matter. Indeed, the social media culture is not as friendly as TV, Radio and Print – it can be brutal and sadistic.

No ad material is spared. To netizens, advertising is like any other content whether above-the-line, below-the-line, through-the-line or online.   All can be subjected to a bullish critique in social media.   Nobody would like to pull out materials just because the netizens, who may not even be a part of your target audience, are mocking the material. It’s certainly not enjoyable to plough through dwindling advertising budgets for a PR crisis caused by mishandled social media attacks on the brand or campaign. It’s a matter of embracing this nature of social media to keep up with the evolving landscape of brand communication.

Dan Ryan Catalan is the research head of Omnicom Media Group Philippines.

 

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