Social Media Marketing: It’s Not All About Paid Ads

Hand using smartphone with Social media concept.

The recent social media advertiser boycott has seen some of the world’s biggest brands turn their backs on paid social to protest the racism and hate speech that unfortunately can still be found on these platforms.

It’s been called the #StopHateForProfit and has seen the likes of The Coca-Cola Company, Starbucks and Diageo pause ad spend across all social media platforms.

Another company that has pressed pause on its social advertising is cross-channel customer engagement solution provider Cheetah Digital.

“The lack of proactivity and open debate to address these issues [with social media] has made it an easy decision for Cheetah Digital to temporarily suspend our ad spend with Facebook,” said Cheetah Digital’s APAC VP Go-To-Market Billy Loizou.

Loizou explained that marketers can use this as an opportunity to rethink how they use social media.

“As marketers, it’s our responsibility to hold the platforms that we invest in accountable for the way in which they choose to influence society,” he said

“Now, we aren’t saying go out and cease all social media immediately, but we want to help you find a better way to use social media with less dependency on paid advertising. Instead, consider organically engaging with consumers in a way they want.”

When it comes to creating this content, Loizou said it’s about ensuring you are giving something back to your audience.

“That means using interactive campaigns that offer something of value to social audiences in exchange for an email or mobile number along with psychographic data from each consumer,” Loizou told B&T.

“Promote sweepstakes, photo contests, quizzes or instant coupons on your own websites and apps to collect that data for direct to consumer marketing.

“Use a social share mechanism after they register in your experience so you are tapping the audience of your audience to promote the experience you’ve created.”

going organic

Loizou’s calls for marketers to rethink social media follows a recent report from Forrester into social media marketing.

It’s OK To Break Up With Social Media points the finger back at marketers for their role in “contributing to societal degradation online” through social media use.

It calls for an end to the “overzealous” use of social media by marketers and instead focus on organic impact.

“Successful social marketing starts with understanding how social media can and should be used,” Forrester says in the report.

“Organic content will be more helpful — and we don’t mean brands pumping out more organic posts on Instagram or Twitter.

“Rather, brands will find engaging in naturally-generated consumer conversation a more fruitful endeavor: listening to existing brand or industry chatter and conversing with customers and prospects about their excitement or concerns.”

It points to the recent example of the African American community on Twitter popularising a chicken sandwich by Popeye’s without Popeye’s having to launch any marketing material.

“With less attention on “pay to play” advertising, brands won’t be able to tightly dictate their social media presences. Instead, consumers will drive brands’ social existences, replacing influencers as the new brand partners,” Forrester says.

making social media better

When it comes to improving social media, Loizou suggested marketers think outside the box with the content they share.

“Brands can also help make social platforms safer and more positive by reposting unexpected content that aligns with their brand values,” Loizou said.

“Share inspiring images, videos or statements from authors, artists, musicians and journalists that are promoting change for better.

You don’t have to create all of your own content and sharing existing posts shows you are listening to those striving for a better world.”

To find out more, you can download the Cheetah Digital Social Media Vs. The Trust Economy whitepaper here.


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