5 Reasons Not To Forget The 'Media' Part Of Social Media

In the conversation management trenches, success is often measured one interaction at a time, as a fan’s anger turns into praise and detractors become promoters. This truly social behavior is highly rewarding for the brands that do it well. Yet inevitably, brands -- especially larger ones -- will expect more.

That “more” is the “media” part of social media -- the part that social purists might balk at but that, in truth, is getting to be more effective by the day. Not surprisingly, the juggernauts behind this trend are the two social networks that have the most to gain right now: Facebook and LinkedIn. After talking to representatives from both companies recently, these 5 reasons not to forget the “media” part of social media became abundantly clear.

1. Mass marketers want mass reach

Growing a multimillion-person social footprint organically takes time, and few marketers have the patience or creativity to get there. That time frame changes quickly even with a modest ad spend on Facebook and/or LinkedIn, allowing brands to find their fans among the 1 billion and 225 million users, respectively, that these networks reach. And once a brand has gained a sizeable fan base on Facebook, paying to reach the majority of them at one time will be well worth testing.



2. Social networks are starting to speak CMO

Speaking recently at Integrated Marketing Week, Facebook’s Graham Mudd demonstrated a keen understanding of CMO’s singular focus on ROI by emphasizing business results over Likes. Explained Mudd: “If a marketer has more traditional goals like customer acquisition or driving online or offline sales, then they shouldn’t be paying attention to Likes as much as how much their marketing efforts drove sales.” As such, Facebook is working with brands and agencies to develop attribution measures across multiple publishers and communication channels to justify spending money on social media.

3. Incredibly easy to test

Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer self-service planning and buying tools that make it incredibly easy to test ads. Brands that want to measure the efficacy of advertising on these two networks can set up campaigns on a cost-per-action basis in minutes and with minuscule budgets. The trick, of course, is to make sure you’re testing the right things. For example, there is no point in testing cost-per-Like if you’re trying to drive site traffic (unless you’ve already been able to correlate the two).

4. Not just a B2C opportunity

Although Facebook is often classified as a B2C social channel, savvy B2B marketers are starting to tap into THE social network. Facebook’s Mudd offered up HubSpot as a case in point, noting: “[HubSpot] wanted to promote its brand as a thought-leader in the business-to-business field on Facebook to lead fans to its page.” By running highly targeted ads by age segment and business title, “HubSpot saw a 71% sales increase from Facebook over the course of three months and 39% increase in traffic,” reported Mudd.

5. Smarter targeting on the horizon

Although Facebook has led the way with sophisticated targeting options like Custom and Lookalike Audiences, LinkedIn will soon offer more refined options on its network. Sponsored Updates, which are expected to launch next month, will provide brands the opportunity to target not just by title and business type but also by interest, affinity group and skill set. Coincidentally, LinkedIn also offered HubSpot as a case study: after pilot testing Sponsored Updates, HubSpot had achieved a very respectable 15% conversion rate of leads generated.

Final Note: Putting the “media” back into social media should not be construed as a failure of your organic efforts to build community. On the contrary, paid media is simply an accelerant, helping you to find your latent fans faster than you might otherwise. Once you find these folks, you’ll still need to engage them socially -- a task that ultimately is far more difficult than buying media. Finally, for my full interview with Graham Mudd on how Facebook is tackling cross-publisher metrics, click here:

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