Brand gags not the real strength of social content

Zoe Virtue, Head of DDB Group Social, discusses how to best utilise the influence embedded within social media and strategies for growing brand love without resorting to shallow tactics aimed solely at getting views.

There is an annoyingly high amount of brand content being created currently purely to get eyeballs.  And while it’s great that brands realise that they have to be on social, have things now tipped too far? 

After years of pouring resource and money into producing always on content we’re starting to hear of brands wanting to pull back from social altogether. It begs the question whether these brands were guilty of producing content for content’s sake; content without much of a strategy; content purely designed to get views or likes.  

If that’s the case it’s hardly surprising they are starting to question their investment.

What’s the point in getting a bunch of views if that piece of content isn’t actually landing or delivering an agreed pre-planned brand message that is part of the greater marketing and business plan and objectives? 

How many times have I seen cheap gags for the sake of an impression! Sure it got some great sentiment but what message have you landed about the brand? How is this helping to build your brand or your consumer base long term? 

A core problem marketers experience with social is it can end up being super adhoc, reactive rather than proactive. The result is where some organisation now find themselves, with a bigger follower base and some likes, but nothing that’s actually fed into the business objectives. And we know that marketing spend without ROI is a sure fire way to lose budgets.  

Content should be approached not only with a narrative but with a consumer journey – where does this piece of content fit in the funnel, how is it part of the bigger puzzle that ultimately converts a customer? 

You can’t just roll out content to create brand love. Sure that totally has to be part of the social strategy, but it has to ladder up to a core marketing objective. And has to feed and prime an audience along the funnel to convert. 

Brand ‘gag’ content is one dimensional and companies end up feeling disenchanted with social, not seeing the value it adds because they’re not doing work that’s adding real long term value. 

For the bulk of my career I’ve been the social media person on a crusade to change all campaigns to be 100 percent social and social first. But after working and seeing for myself full mass scale campaigns roll out at DDB, I’ve realised how naive that perspective actually is. The best campaigns are truly integrated. Each channel supports each other and integrates in clever ways so the multiple touch points work together in harmony.  Inevitably, done right it creates tremendous ROI.

Sure social can and should have its own strategy and mini campaigns. But when trying to drive a big impact with an integrated campaign that talks to as many people as possible – use social for the clever multifaceted channel it is and use it to prompt people at multiple points along the consumer journey. 

You can just focus on the gags if you want, but that’s really just a tiny fraction of what social can and should be doing for your brand. 

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Zoe Virtue is Head of DDB Group Social.

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