Brands use social media to engage and deepen relationships with consumers. But Wharton School’s Pinar Yildirim warns of the risk in sensational content and minority opinions when it comes to user-generated content (UGC).
We know it’s good to engage your customers. It’s not true, however, that any engagement is good engagement. Brands should not have blind faith in high numbers. Instead, media managers’ goal should be meaningful interactions that deepen relationships with their best customers.
The right metrics in social media are crucial, but interpretation is just as important and this is where I’m going to focus. When it comes to social media content, there are two tendencies to be wary of — sensationalism and extreme opinions.
So, my first piece of advice for managers is: do not to fall into the sensationalism trap and be careful how you interpret social media. Emotional, controversial, or exaggerated messaging might attract attention — and even boost your social media fans or followers’ number in the short term — but are people really buying into your brand? Moreover, could it be harmful in the long term? If brand-related content is going to chime in on the topic of the moment, make sure it does so in a way that ties back to your brand and what it stands for.
This brings us to my second piece of advice. When social media’s most active users are consumers with polarized opinions, managers must carefully interpret the data they gather from it. It can be detrimental when companies – and big data analysts – treat the opinions of a small, and possibly polarized, vocal group as representing the opinions of the rest.
A study conducted by Forrester Research and the Business Marketing Association has revealed that 97 percent of business-to-business marketing leaders are taking on responsibilities they have never had to before, including managing social media on a regular basis.
The findings, released Wednesday, also revealed that more than 70 percent of the 117 B2B marketers surveyed are concerned about brand integrity and execution in social media, and 60 percent admit they are looking to hire young talent to help them navigate new and ever-changing technology. The problem that marketers face, however, is that the talent is hard to find—about 47 percent say they can't find people with the right skill sets, and 28 percent say it's nearly impossible to fill important positions.
As a result, the role of the traditional marketer has expanded significantly. According to the study, 87 percent of marketers have found that peer departments seek their input and data much more; 78 percent claim the marketing organization's influence on corporate strategy is much greater; 77 percent believe the stature of marketing's seat at the executive round table has risen; and 56 percent say they spend more time in front of the company's board of directors than in the past.
"You know that feeling, when you can’t wait to get home to tell your significant other about the crazy thing that just happened at work? The second you walk through the door, even before you kick off your pinchy-toe shoes, you’re saying, “You’re not going to believe this . . .” as you launch into the story, complete with revealing hand gestures, passion, and well timed pauses that effortlessly build to the riveting climax."
Facebook added another level of targeting to its advertising strategy Wednesday with the introduction of partner categories, a self-service feature that uses data collected from other channels to deliver ads on the social network.