B&T was a lucky attendee at last Friday’s Engage social media summit in steamy Bali. Prior to his presentation, we caught up with one of the presenters, Alvaro Quesada (main photo), the business development director at Singapore-based social media agency Tinkle. Here, he talks social’s exciting last 12 months and takes a stab at future trends, too…
What’s been the most exciting thing to happen in social media over the past 12 months?
I totally agree on the actions taken by Facebook and Google to fight #fakenews as some of the most exciting things that happened over the past 12 months.
Aside from that, I think it was very interesting what happened with Kylie Jenner’s tweet from last week. She demonstrated once again (quite probably without even wanting it), the power of a social media influencer. Just by tweeting, “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad” she made Snapchat lose $US1.3 billion dollars in valuation. BAM! Yes, the tweet got a lot of attention with her fans agreeing with her, therefore helps escalate the fact that Snapchat is losing interest among their audience and they failed terribly with the latest app redesign. It still amazes me to see the power and the consequences of just one single tweet.
When it comes to social, what always works, what necessarily doesn’t?
Mmmm… I believe the audience wants to see content shared by brands when they speak to them naturally. One example could be the latest Tide Ads at the Super Bowl. They did a great job selling such a “difficult product” which we usually don’t associate with football: DETERGENT. They did a magnificent job at the most important event on TV in where the audience felt captured by the sincerity of their message. People hate clickbait headlines, “Like us on Facebook” or “Click here to discover how boring our brand is” type of messages. If Tide succeeded at it, anyone can do it
There’s a HUGE issue around trust in all forms of media at the moment. What’s your view on that in relation to social media?
I think this is an amazing topic as well that is also worrying at the same time. It feels like people lost the will of finding out the legitimacy of a source before they share content they feels it’s legit (even though a quick search would tell you it’s not legit). This has been happening in Twitter for many years, people retweeting “cool links” without even clicking on them. Some 3000 of retweets and only 200 clicks on a link? For a long time people have sharing information in social media without checking if it’s legitimate. That was okay as long as the information was true, but with fake news all over social media it becomes a much more serious problem now
How are brands still getting their social media wrong?
Brands – and agencies – have learned a lot since the beginning of social media 14 years ago when Facebook was launched. However, we still see brands getting it wrong. I keep hearing brands wondering “how come social media cost money if it’s free to use?”. Even though opening a brand profile it’s free, distributing the content comes with a price. And Facebook made it clear earlier this year when they announced that they’re reducing, even more, the organic reach of posts.
Where should social media fit in a brand’s overall media/marketing mix?
Social media is key for a brand’s marketing strategy, but it cannot be the only one. A good marketing mix should include, in most of the cases, a balance between branded content, social ads, influencer marketing and other digital approaches according to each case. Brands also need to work more in better integrating their online efforts in their offline marketing strategy. Traditional/offline actions are still relevant for some brands in specific situations, but we’ve been seeing over the last years how brands are shifting their traditional budgets to more digital focus strategies. One of the beauties of this industry is that, when you think you know everything about social media, something happens and you need to start learning again. It keeps you active to learn new things every day!
What’s your advice to CMOs confused about investing in their social media strategy?
ROI is key. CMO’s many times are attached to traditional advertising tactics, even if they don’t see a direct ROI with their investments. They’re still doing it because they feel comfortable with it and they resist to change. Our duty as an agency is to guide them throughout the process, advice them how to invest their budgets wisely and work on strategies where they can see a tangible ROI that justifies their investments. It’s when they see the first results that they start feeling more comfortable and pumping in more budget to their digital strategies. It’s a process that takes time, mostly in old companies that are just starting to explore the benefits of social media advertising. When you manage the client’s expectations correctly they feel comfortable working with you and they see you as a partner they trust. Increasing more resources to invest in digital is a natural next step for them.
Who’s a brand (not yours) that you think is nailing its social media and why?
Hahaha! Yes. NETFLIX! Without a doubt. I’m following the Spanish and the Singaporean channels and the way they promote the same shows in such different ways it’s just amazing. They really got the tone and pulse of social media and they know how to stir their audiences making a lot of noise of pretty much every single release. It looks like a great brand to work with as they’re full of creativity and brave enough to try new things testing the limits of social media marketing.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc – what’s your platform of choice?
I would say Facebook. I love reading and I managed to get a nice selection of different sources that I trust. That’s why I spent most of my social media time on Facebook.
Looking deep into your crystal ball, what’s the next BIG thing coming for brands in the social media space?
Well, there are many things that were supposed to boom in the last years and we still haven’t seen their full potential. Some examples are AR, 360 videos, dark social, influencer marketing, AI content, chatbots… All those have done some great improvements but they’re still in development. If I had to choose one I would say Instagram. Since Facebook’s acquisition back in 2012 we’ve seen so many improvements but I feel like this is just the very beginning. Only Facebook knows what are their plans for Instagram, but I believe there’s still so much more major developments on their way we may or may not expect. These days we’re experiencing an increase of traffic from organic Instagram Stories than traditional Facebook posts. We still don’t have a way to buy products natively on Instagram without leaving the app but, when that happens, it’s going to be a real game-changer for e-commerce. Instagram is the favourite platform for influencers and it seems that it will keep growing in the future. Overall, Instagram as a platform is managing to bring different generations (unsatisfied Snapchat users and parents looking something different from Facebook for example) in the same place. If brands should focus on just ONE platform, quite probably the answer would be Instagram.