Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Live from FOCI 2013: Social Media Insights made Actionable

Being aptly titled social media expert, and with a personal passion for the arena, I was obviously front and center at the panel of social media insights. With Clorox, Heineken and Johnson and Johnson coming together to share their views on a rapidly changing consumer landscape in the social context, the learnings were as strong in variety as they were packed with information.

Here were some key takeaways:

Make it actionable: The point of social media rises from the need for market driven reactions and actions that can hopefully lead to insights. One can think of this as exploring white space. However, no one product comes out of it for Johnson and Johnson, but General Mills however has pizza crusts and gluten free products that come from social media listening.

Understand your consumer: Heineken has success from permission to follow its uber men on instagram and facebook, in order to understand relationship dynamics and influencers. This is much deeper in engagement and fosters better understanding.

Try to understand the ROI in the social space: What is the real value of paid, shared or earned followers? Its all about actively engaging. The ultimate goal is to drive engagement, increase customer loyalty and eventually induce purchase. Paid owned earned space isn’t figured out, because they can’t prove the value to find out what the ROI is. ROI is what is used by classical marketing, and often gets muddled with social.

Tie in your social and classical channels: You need to integrate consumer affairs and social media listening. They will tell you different stories, as they work with different consumer segments. Listening to only one source (classical or social) will only give you part of the story, and cannot be the basis of a strategy. Because after all, consumer affairs, social insights and listening. Ultimately everyone is trying to find actionable insights.

Social media action should be driven by objectives: never ask a question of what happens with social media or what do you do with it… It’s as simple as not letting method drive your quest for insight. Rather, focus on your objectives.

Overall, we’re at the point of expanding connections – and social media makes it even easier. The irony of social media joined with classical marketing boils down to money and budgets, for when it comes to spending corporate, one seeks ROI, despite knowing that simply being on the social channels is essential.

Ending anecdotal-ly with a KY learning from social media relating to men and women doing dishes, this panel brings to mind that social is awesome.

Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.

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