• Transform magazine
  • May 25, 2019

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Opinion: Debbie Donaldson on social media, “Is so-called engagement really hitting the mark?”

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Everyone knows social is a core focus for brand communicators. Debbie Donaldson, business director at The Big Group, discusses the way to best drive engagement around brand content.

Let’s face it – social media activity is now a core part of brand positioning, with nearly 80% of Fortune 500 companies now actively maintaining a presence on Twitter and Facebook (2013 figures). With this set to continue in earnest, now is the time to take a look at what genuine engagement means, especially when it comes to communicating around a specific campaign or initiative. It is common to hear claims of high engagement levels on social media banded about by brands, but they rarely qualify how they’ve actually achieved this.

Responding to posts historically – even if within a day or two – is counter-productive when it comes to making a campaign go further. Real-time, on-the-spot engagement is vital, given that consumers can potentially move on within a matter of seconds. Also, finding a way of displaying the social shop window of a campaign can be a challenge, as brands look to bring together equity from different platforms and communicate the nature of a campaign in an attractive way.
Collating posts from different platforms into one space is a key way of meeting both these needs, but opening the floodgates isn’t the answer – functions that allow only the most prominent social media posts about a campaign to be shown provide focus and mean that brands can respond in the moment and create genuine engagement.

Mainstream events such as the World Cup give brands a platform to associate themselves with something that already has consumers engaged. The challenge is in making this association exciting and memorable enough to cut through and get noticed in an over-crowded space. Hyundai launched a competition to find the craziest way of celebrating a goal and used a specific tool called Mention.To, which was developed by The Big Group. In doing this, Hyundai was able to see an overview of the best social content the competition was driving and directly engage with a captive audience. On the back of the high engagement levels the tool helped drive for the brand, a separate hub was developed on Facebook to promote conversation around Hyundai’s eleven-year partnership with Tate Modern.
Mention.To and similar tools on the market are more than an attractive shop window. They also act as a perfect opportunity for brands to capture data from consumers that are more actively engaged with the brand and feed this data and insight back into future strategies.

So, when considering the options, it is vital that brand owners select a tool that meets a number of needs. Given the need to cut through the noise and directly converse with consumers in the moment, the level of influence conversations have on the entire marketing mix is set to accelerate.