Deva­sish Auddy says so­cial is cen­tral to strat­egy.

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

We live in a more con­nected world to­day than ever be­fore. At al­most ev­ery step of our daily lives we cross paths with dif­fer­ent mar­ket­ing stim­uli, from road­side bill­boards and el­e­va­tor screens to on­line ban­ners and so­cial me­dia ads on our mo­bile de­vices.

The con­sumer’s jour­ney is a very non-lin­ear one and pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions can be trig­gered from any­where. This is why brands need to en­sure that they re­main con­nected with their con­sumers, through ev­ery step of the jour­ney. Once con­sumers ex­press in­ter­est in a prod­uct cat­e­gory, brands need to cap­ture their at­ten­tion and en­sure that they re­main top-of-mind at any touch point in the jour­ney.

When plan­ning the mar­ket­ing strat­egy, mar­keters should look at what kinds of touch­points have the high­est pen­e­tra­tion and what kind of affin­ity they have for a tar­get au­di­ence. Th­ese two cri­te­ria are the most im­por­tant when de­cid­ing which chan­nels are worth pri­ori­tis­ing.

In the MENA re­gion, for ex­am­ple, where in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion is higher than the global av­er­age at around 58 per cent, and with GCC coun­ties such as the UAE and Bahrain reach­ing more than 90 per cent , dig­i­tal chan­nels are a cru­cial part of the mar­ket­ing strat­egy.

At the same time, print me­dia affin­ity is de­clin­ing, play­ing a much smaller role in a mar­ket­ing cam­paign. This is why at HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, all our con­tent is cre­ated with a dig­i­tal pur­pose, and par­tic­u­larly for so­cial me­dia.

So­cial me­dia is driven by con­tent, whether videos or images, news or livestream­ing. With con­sumers be­ing ex­posed to less or­ganic con­tent and more spon­sored con­tent, brands are com­pelled to en­sure that their con­tent is rel­e­vant for the so­cial me­dia plat­form it is shared on.

Most mar­keters cre­ate con­tent for one so­cial me­dia chan­nel and share it across all their plat­forms in the same for­mat. This is a mis­align­ment that can cost them en­gage­ment and fol­low­ers in the long-run. The rea­son con­sumers pre­fer one so­cial me­dia chan­nel over an­other is be­cause of their con­sump­tion be­hav­iour.

In­sta­gram, for ex­am­ple, is prov­ing to be more en­gag­ing than Face­book, with the UAE lead­ing the MENA re­gion with the high­est In­sta­gram adop­tion rate and sec­ond-high­est num­ber of daily users, at 1.2 mil­lion.

Saudi Ara­bia, on the other hand, is YouTube’s largest mar­ket glob­ally in terms of per-capita con­sump­tion, with video be­ing the most pop­u­lar on­line ac­tiv­ity for young peo­ple. There­fore, the con­tent and mes­sage should be tai­lored to suit the tar­get au­di­ence for each in­di­vid­ual chan­nel.

Video con­tent, for ex­am­ple, is very well re­ceived, with 70 per cent of

smart­phone users in the UAE and Saudi Ara­bia watch­ing videos on so­cial me­dia at least once a week, more than the global av­er­age. Share-abil­ity is higher for videos, but they re­ceive fewer com­ments than photos or static posts.

This is be­cause so­cial me­dia videos typ­i­cally run for one to two min­utes, so the time spent on that par­tic­u­lar con­tent is more. If view­ers spend their time watch­ing the en­tire video and they like it, they will share it with their fol­low­ers as well. There­fore, to stand out from the clut­ter of video con­tent, brands need to en­sure that the videos they post are en­gag­ing and re­lat­able, to keep the view­ers’ in­ter­est un­til the very end.

Fur­ther­more, en­gage­ment and con­ver­sa­tions with your fol­low­ers are cru­cial to main­tain a brand’s rep­u­ta­tion and grow its au­di­ence. Brands should share con­tent that is rel­e­vant to their tar­get au­di­ences and en­cour­ages them to feel part of the story.

What­ever the form of the con­tent, there must be a clear call to ac­tion, so that the au­di­ence knows what they are sup­posed to do with it next, whether it is shar­ing, lik­ing or com­ment­ing. Com­mu­nity man­age­ment is also im­por­tant, since com­ments and ques­tions show what kind of en­gage­ment the con­tent is gen­er­at­ing and how well re­ceived the con­tent is.

Fi­nally, it is im­por­tant to mea­sure the suc­cess of the so­cial me­dia cam­paign. Apart from key met­rics such as en­gage­ment, mar­keters must also look at the role the so­cial me­dia cam­paign has within the over­all mar­ket­ing mix and how it af­fected the con­sumer jour­ney, ei­ther by redi­rect­ing the au­di­ence to the web­site or trig­ger­ing a pur­chas­ing de­ci­sion. Through­out the jour­ney, the con­sumer should en­counter the same user ex­pe­ri­ence. Only then can brands truly stay con­nected with their au­di­ences.

Deva­sish Auddy is re­gional head of mar­ket­ing at HMD Global

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