On 3rd April 2009, Pinstorm (disclaimer: I work there) hosted the Bridging the Social Media Divide discussion session to talk of how marketers and social media enthusiasts can work together and forge ways of advertising via Social Media that are not intrusive while being RoI driven.
The discussion idea took root at the India Social Media Summit 2009, possibly India’s first summit on Social Media (SM), where many acknowledged that there was a need for social media enthusiasts and marketers to come together and set expectations on marketing via SM. While the social media enthusiasts believed that the medium required a change of mindset on the part of the marketers, the latter believed the medium needed more metrics and case studies to highlight that it was RoI driven. There was clearly a disconnect.
The first discussion of its kind in India aimed to bring the two parties together and set the ball rolling for a more evolved understanding of the medium from the prospective of the social media enthusiasts and the marketers.
The marketers asked questions such as what are the performance criteria on SM, what kind of RoI can one expect from ‘x’ amount of money invested in the platform? They also wanted a reliable means to track what customers were saying about their products.
The social media enthusiasts spoke of how SM should be used to influence and not sell a product. They were of the opinion that though cost of acquisition is higher in the short term, profitability over six months is higher than in any other medium of online advertising and that measuring the value of a conversation should a metric for SM. According to them, SM is like advertising on one’s bedroom wall and that the advertising message does not always have to have a ‘call to action’ at the end.
They also felt that when marketers were in the ‘campaign’ mode, they were not really listening to feedback from users.
The discussion adjourned with both parties agreeing that SM is not really only about marketing or only PR; it’s a combination of both. Companies are already engaged in reputation management, etc. in the offline world and this needs to translate online. They also agreed that marketing via SM was about creating a brand message that would go viral.
A participant who said, “Everyone has numbers to meet, but we all need to work harder to increase positive vibe for SM”, encapsulated the mood of the discussion. We are very keen to continue the conversation.
Image credits: Dina Mehta