How brands should adapt to changing social media environment

Social media networks are one of the most public channels on the Internet for brands to market themselves and yet users are moving increasingly towards private social media networks and looking for content that can give them social currency in their own networks.

This topic was debated at today’s SOPA Media Insider Talk on content marketing and the rise of digital media held at American Club today, co-organized by The Society of Publishers in Asia and Marketing.

Beatrice Lo, brand director of the sparkling division at Coca-Cola, said that today’s marketers have to hand the control and power back to the audience  because content spreads real-time on the Internet.

“It’s not like creating a TVC anymore where the marketer controls the content.  Nowadays, we have to work differently,” Lo said.

“Nothing can hide in the social media world, it’s about giving power back to the audience.  That’s why transparency is really important.”

What’s unique about social media is how public it is, which in turn puts pressure on people and brands to garner positive feedback from their friends and fans.  This creates an opportunity for brands to create content that fans can share.

“For our fans or even our sales force, if they don’t have enough likes on social media, they feel like it’s a personal failure,” Lo said.

“That’s why we need to create content that gives them social currency.”

Meanwhile, Thomas Crampton, global managing director at Social@Ogilvy, highlights the trend towards more private social networks such as WeChat and Line.

He said, “This presents a challenge to brands that are operating in the era of Facebook.”

Adam Najberg, Asia Digital Editor at The Wall Street Journal, agrees with this trend and finds private social networks useful in their own ways.

“Private networks allow you to tailor messages to individuals which you can’t do on Facebook.  Line, for example, is also less amorphous than Facebook,” Najberg said.

He says it is hard to say whether Facebook is a friend or a foe.

“People tend to attribute news to the platform – they say, ‘I read something on Facebook this morning,’ instead of ‘I read something by the Wall Street Journal on Facebook this morning.’  Facebook has great reach but people just don’t value the content that is posted on it as much,” Najberg said.

“To get the value you need fully out of Facebook, you need to know how to extract value from the dashboard of analytics they provide.”

On the topic of viral videos, Crampton says its important to see viral video production as a tactic rather than an objective.

“We don’t want to take a tactical approach to social media – we want to do grown-up social media that builds a brand over time,” he said.

“Brands first getting involved in social media tend to want to do viral videos straight away.  It could help but it could also injure your brand, which took many years to build.”

Alexander Hotz, multimedia director at Coconuts Media, whose platform publishes many videos, advises content creators against doing video for video’s sake because it ties up resources.

“Not every video is going to go viral, it happens organically.  Building a sustainable audience which is more valuable than a handful of viral hits,” he said.

[Image]: Shutterstock

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