This is part two of our fascinating two-part interview with Forbes Top 40 social media influencer and new media strategist Yacine Baroudi, focusing on the alignment of traditional marketing channels with social and mobile spheres.
Yacine, thanks for the amazing insights from our conversation last week…Let’s continue to explore how social and mobile marketing is impacting traditional marketing practices and how marketing can benefit from this convergence.
How do you measure the effectiveness of social marketing efforts?
As I’ve said about choosing social-media platforms, you have to keep your ear to the ground, Pelin. [laughs] Measurement is absolutely crucial. Without it we won’t know what an audience expects; we won’t be able to surpass its expectations and to dazzle it. Practically, measurement should be built into all initiatives and relatively to the objective at hand. Is it awareness? Clicks? Visits? Are we looking to collect email addresses? Mobile numbers? Generate video views? To what end? How do the metrics we plan on using relate to our core business? The questions and metrics approach shouldn’t be an afterthought. This doesn’t stray much from the traditional marketing common sense we know. What’s effective for one company may not be for another. Just because the second company is still aiming for fan-base growth and has built its initiative into its overall marketing effort, the first might still blindly be aiming at growing its fan base without real engagement. I’ve seen companies with Facebook pages boasting hundreds of thousands of fans but unable to demonstrate one bit of ROI. This could be simply for lack of relevant initiatives, built-in metrics or integration into the core business mechanics. From what I understand you do, your platform at Anametrix is very well suited for being an empowering force in this environment.
How does social marketing impact traditional marketing efforts?
Mobile and social networks are currently turning traditional channels into what I like to call “acquisition” channels. We’re at the very beginning, but have you seen a billboard without Twitter and Facebook icons lately?
As I said earlier about billboards, TV commercials and sales pitches, these traditional marketing tools won’t go away, but they now need to be integrated with social-marketing efforts. Take email. It’s still one of the most commonly used communication channels out there; it should certainly not be dismissed as an augmentative element to social marketing. It was not long ago when Facebook started allowing applications to access users’ email addresses. What better proof than a platform linking together 800 million users acknowledging that email is still a valuable piece of data to obtain? Many social initiatives do aim at collecting email addresses to complete an engagement cycle with communities.
The explosion of mobile, also, is due to the benefits users can reap from companies linking new (online) and traditional (offline) media, sometimes in counterintuitive ways. The simplest example of which is to buy advertising space in a magazine — and we’re all now aware of the paper-based press’s dismally plunging ROI figures — and include a QR code for users to scan and receive a coupon, acquire website visits to sign up for offers or obtain a mobile number in exchange for a freebie. The heated debate around QR codes’ actual efficacy and the fast-approaching mass adoption of NFC (near field communication) technology, are only two signs of how early we still are and of what’s to come. The key here is appreciating the multi-directional dance between social, online, mobile and traditional marketing. I find Anametrix’s “transformations” concept very interesting in that regard.
What is the most common client question?
Your question about which social platforms to use. Seriously! [laughs]
What do you think most clients SHOULD be asking and why?
Of themselves, they should be asking how far they’re ready to go. The new customer expects and demands change; and the only genuinely convincing change and value is delivered from within. From someone helping them lay out a social-marketing strategy — and its supporting tactical plan — they should ask what they believe social marketing to be and how it should align with other marketing activities. Social marketing is not about swapping a billboard for a Facebook or Twitter page but rather making the two work in concert to create and harness goodwill from an audience that itself has an audience of its own.
What is your most exciting “social-media moment” to date?
Being a very early observer and adopter of social media and having many times felt like a prophet in a desert, I’d have to say that moment was when I witnessed social media being used and leveraged to effect change beyond marketing and into people’s everyday lives, thus lending social media its letters of nobility in the media world and positioning the revolution it’s ushering as a real, unavoidable force to reckon with. And I believe we ain’t seen nothing, yet.