Many companies leveraging social media marketing are doing so with the goal of building brand awareness in mind. From local businesses to multi-national brands, social media marketing can provide new ways for the brand to get closer to its current customers. It can also help reach new consumers otherwise unaware of or disengaged from their business. To do so effectively, companies must carefully consider the role of social media in the wider brand awareness strategy - and this also includes using relevant platforms that offer the metrics needed to efficiently move the needle.
When it comes to using social media to raise brand awareness, many brands jump in with a Twitter account and a Facebook page. But without some sort of ongoing commitment, policies, and goals, the accounts are in danger of becoming dormant. This is reflected in the fact that an estimated 25% of brands with Twitter accounts are active!
Some brands that haven’t started to use social media to increase brand awareness may be suffering from “analysis paralysis”—the need to get every policy and procedure in place before embarking on social media marketing. Yes, policies need to be in place (you don’t want employees representing your company or brand’s voice in an unfavorable way), but you also can’t let fear keep you from getting engaged in social media marketing.
Brand awareness is a metric that has grown out of traditional media. Other awareness metrics such as brand impressions also play their part and are often used to predict sales based upon prior campaign performance. For example, X media will provide Y impressions and will generate (on average) Z sales. This metric is simple to measure if you have the right social media analytics platform to support you.
Companies use also use brand mentions, an engagement metric, to measure brand awareness. Counting brand mentions over time shows how much buzz there is about a brand and how that buzz develops over time and correlates with other media buys/ campaigns etc.
Brand mentions as a metric are often used to see how new messaging has spread through social media. For instance, brands may track how many people have been using their old messaging to discuss or describe their product, how many are using the new messaging, and how the conversation has shifted.
In some cases, agencies are leveraging social media analytic tools and platforms to drive these metrics as part of their overall branding strategy. But are agencies prohibiting companies from doing more? Traditional agencies and their brand customers know and rely upon standard metrics; but how can they move towards using new media metrics to show value? And should they manage their clients’ “social voice”? Does it matter to consumers that an agency is the “man behind the curtain” for a brand’s social account? Food for thought.
Social marketing should be about engaging people; brand awareness starts with that initial light touch; for instance, following someone on Twitter who mentions an interest that pertains to your market, a competitive brand, the use of a product in your category, etc.
Brands can take that initial awareness further and engage consumers more deeply to move them along the customer journey. Social networks provide so much more opportunity for the overall brand strategy than just brand awareness and impressions. Brand awareness is a good start as a use case, but social media marketing affords so much more. (We’ll talk about other use cases in driving consumer engagement in a later discussion).
Bank example: An agency’s bank customer saw the average age of their customer drop by four years after they launched their Facebook page. Since there was no way to measure click-throughs to account sign-ups, there was little direct ROI data to analyse. However, the demographic data was very telling.
How do you measure goodwill and how does this impact your wider marketing strategy? Social media marketing helps to build goodwill between the brand and current and potential customers. One way companies can measure this is by leveraging sentiment score metrics. Sentiment analysis and brand mentions can help showcase more positive attitudes among consumers. But can a business measure the ROI for goodwill?
Engagement can be viral. Traditionally, if a consumer had a positive experience with a brand, he or she would tell people on a one-to-one basis. With social media, that positive experience can turn into a viral brand bonanza. If brands are not engaged in social media marketing to build and monitor brand awareness, this situation has the potential to turn into a brand nightmare (consider “United Breaks Guitars,” for example).
Your social marketing strategy should be used in a coordinated way to drive brand awareness - and that means thinking of your strategy from an omnichannel perspective. Social media is not the only available method to drive awareness, nor is it the right channel for every situation. Advertising is also widely adopted by companies to build brand awareness. Email remains the primary channel for receiving deals, offers, or promotions, especially among B2B brands. Different marketing channels have their value – and their place – in a brand strategy. By ensuring you measure which channels offer your own brand the largest ROI, you can place your attention on the platform that will deliver better results. Fortunately in the past 10 years the Martech (marketing technology) space has developed rapidly, meaning marketing pros now have a variety of tools at their fingertips to assist with measuring their strategies.
One last thought: make sure you understand individual consumer preferences for communication with your brand and adhere to them strictly! This can be achieved by asking your marketing database to complete a questionnaire that details their preferred methods of communication.You can also leverage a social media analytics platform like Meltwater to understand which social media channels your audience are engaging on. The 'conversation by channel' metric is a simple one to apply to find this information. For example, if you understand that the majority of the conversation is taking place on Twitter, you'll want to put more resources towards this platform as it offers a higher chance of helping you achieve your brand awareness strategy goals.
How is your brand using social marketing to drive awareness? Let us know!