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Social Vanity Wasting SME Investment

Article date: Wed, 28 Dec 2011 09:53:50 GMT

Social vanity is muddying the waters of marketing campaigns, leaving ill-informed firms wasting investment in pointless social campaigns.

Businesses are too focused on keeping up with the trend of social rather than the value that the campaign can bring according to a panel of marketing and communications experts gathered at a round table debate held by hosting firm UKFast.

Marcus Hadfield, group director at McCann, said: "If your business and product isn't something that people want to talk about you will not do well on social media. I strongly believe that businesses need to task themselves more with looking at what is successful about their product and assuming that people will talk about it, rather than interrupting conversations or running competitions and asking people to talk about it."

Paul Harris, marketing director at hosting company UKFast, agreed, he said: "Businesses are being swept up in a social frenzy, believing that they must have a social presence because other companies do. This social vanity is preventing companies from making informed choices about their marketing campaigns and where to invest their marketing budget.

"Why waste money on nurturing a social presence if your product is not something people want to talk about?"

Ryan Kaye, client services director at CTI Digital, told the panel that many businesses are not considering this when choosing a social campaign. He said: "We have clients who have approached social media in completely the wrong way - they have money left in their marketing budget so choose to have a Facebook page because they want to tick the box and keep up with the trend."

Harris continued: "Rather than throwing this 'extra' money at building a social media campaign, if businesses were to invest it into improving their product, a stronger social presence would follow naturally."

Hadfield explained that successful social campaigns are built out of necessity - not as an extra. He said: "It is all well and good using the latest shiny toys like Blipper or whichever social newcomer is around the corner, but we have to ask: where is the substance behind this?

"There has to be some kind of value-add for the customer like a recipe or some extra content to engage them, to make people want to visit the brand's pages."

Ben Aronson, creative director at Juice Digital, continued: "The problem for businesses is that people have no attention span. We are having to develop apps and programmes to engage consumers but online we only have seven seconds to catch people's attention. For example, users spend hours browsing YouTube but only watch 15-20% of the video content they visit so is it really worth it for brands?"

Karl Sanderson, creative director at Vivid, explained that because of the low attention span of internet users, reverting to traditional advertising could be the best way for businesses to reach their audience.

He said: "It is becoming more difficult to engage internet users and keep their attention - this is why I prefer outdoor advertising, because you cannot switch it off. It is one of the only marketing channels that can guarantee mass reach and with technology progressing at such a pace, we can now have interactive smart-glass outdoor ads - the more engaging it gets the better it is for us."


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