Social media campaigns need more scale and to be taken more seriously, according to a new report by marketing firm Warc.
The ‘Seriously Social’ report analysed 800 campaigns and found that, while brands’ usage of social media has grown rapidly, many campaigns are small-scale, short-term and lack quantified proof of their commercial effectiveness.
Of the 800 cases examined, just over half included a social media element.
Facebook is the most-mentioned social media owner in the case studies, cited in 79% of those that feature a social element. Twitter was cited in 41% of cases, and YouTube in 40%.
The report’s authors – consultant Peter Field and Warc editor Carlos Grande – have called for marketers to become more serious about social media and enforce higher standards of planning, strategy and evaluation.
The report states: “Growth in the usage of social media has outpaced growth in objective understanding of how to use it effectively for communications. It is time to bridge the knowledge gap.
“Social media might not always be the right choice for every context. But in order for marketers to extract more value from their investments in this field, it is time for social media to be taken more seriously.”
Field and Grande argue that social media success often depends on four main challenges:
1. Adopting a social mindset. Understanding what type of content will drive social currency within the target audience, and how to provide that content.
2. Social articulation of a clear brand idea. Best practice campaigns embody a clear brand idea. They also show marketers being relaxed enough to encourage users to add their content and voices to campaign content.
3. Scaling up of ambition. Marketers need to review campaign budgets, duration and media integration to ensure these all help capture the full benefits of their social activity.
4. Including key elements. Components such as storytelling, calls to participation and taboo-breaking often feature in successful social campaigns. However, it is more important that brands work out which exact elements drive social currency for their audience than look for a rigid creative formula.