Social media has transformative potential and a significant impact on commerce. With dynamic platforms at our disposal, marketers can harness social media to drive customer engagement and amplify sales.
This was the core discussion at a panel during MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Digital Marketing Asia conference. At the panel, industry leaders Manisha Seewal, president of Redhill Communications, Chua Ke Wei, head of marketing at Fitness First, Norman Tan, global marketing strategy leader at Zespri International and Olivier Girard, head of services for APAC at Digimind outlined three ways in which marketers can enhance their use of social media, from brand building to acquiring new customers.
1. Focus on building your brand
As tempting as it is to focus on sales and conversions as a marketer, brand building is equally, if not more, important, according to Tan.
He added that while it is easy to jump on the bandwagon and pursue what is popular on social media, marketers should not lose sight of one marketing fundamental – how their brand looks.
He highlighted that a large chunk of sales come from brand building efforts from the past. In Zespri International’s case, a significant amount of sales arose from the fact that consumers love the brand. Therefore, he stressed that marketers should not ignore brand building.
"You need to find ways to continuously be meaningful to consumers, stand out from the crowd, and use social media as a space to make the brand come through as if it were a person," he said. "Through this, a brand can live its purpose and showcase its value set to consumers."
Given the community-driven and interactive nature of social media, he added that it is unsurprising that it is a powerful place to achieve brand building efforts and that marketers should take advantage of that.
2. Tap into user-generated content (UGC)
Another way that marketers can enhance their social media presence is to tap into UGCs.
Girard explained that tapping into UGCs can add insight to the different stages of the consumer journey, revealing their exact pain points.
He added that it is important to define strategy objectives properly and to approach it one at a time. “There is no need to jump straight to the end of the process,” he said.
Instead, he recommended starting with the basics, such as securing the brand’s online reputation and ensuring that there are no issues with consumer sentiments towards its products and services. In doing so, a brand can really focus on its marketing strategies and direction.
UGC has also brought a huge change in how brands interact with customers. In this vein, Chua highlighted that a huge part of social commerce is about how people make purchases. UGC helps to drive new acquisition while retaining existing customers, through social recommendation and social credibility.
She raised an example of how Fitness First engaged its community of members and staff to be its influencers and spokespersons. Through UGC, the brand could make social media a platform to showcase the vibrance of its community, enabling members to feel a sense of belonging.
“UGC is great for putting the heart of the brand in the community,” she added.
Seewal also add on that while engagement is a key metric that marketers look for, it is sometimes necessary to take a step back to look at who is really engaging. For example, people might be engaging simply to win a lucky draw, without really engaging with the brand. In this regard, UGC is a good way to allow for more organic engagement around a brand.
3. Make sure you establish your KPIs
Seewal, who was moderating the panel, also drew attention to the fact that when it comes to social commerce, marketers need to know their KPIs very clearly or risk getting lost.
After setting objectives and KPIs, start testing, she said. It also requires patience, as results take time to stabilise. She further noted that the statistics derived can provide customer insights, which are sometimes surprising.
These insights can then be used to derive trends and bring new customers and commerce sellers to a given platform. In turn, marketers can turn towards boosting engagement and spending on the platform.
When setting goals, Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM) is also a powerful tool for marketers to trace data to marketing efforts, according to Tan.
For example, based on data collected over a few years, a marketer can determine how much of yearly sales can be attributed to different efforts and channels. These insights can offer a good gauge to justify different spending decisions.
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