Industry Research : Stop Treating Social Media as a Call Centre
MARKETERS are treating social media such as Twitter and Facebook more like a call centre than a sales tool, according to a social media expert.
Jeff Jordan, senior product manager for social media at Adobe, said the growth of interest in social media as a marketing and communications channel needed to be backed by a better understanding of what brands wanted to accomplish.
He said companies needed to make the jump from seeing it as a way to deliver simple messages to being a fully fledged revenue source. "The first stage, which is the stage we are in currently, is to help social media marketing become a mature, robust, predictable ROI (return on investment) mechanism," he said.
"(We need to) take it from where it stands currently for most companies as a customer service arm, which is a valuable use for it, and turning into a revenue-generating marketing channel the same way paid search and display (advertising) and things like that are - tying all that social media marketing goodness back to revenue."
He said companies still saw social media as a new form of call centre. "They think its like a telephone: you answer calls, you answer tweets and posts. We want to get to the point where we can expand the use of that 'phone' and really turn it into a megaphone.
"Social is a global phenomenon. But here in Australia, for instance, there is a greater penetration per capita in terms of Facebook users than anywhere in the world, so it's not just something that's happening in Silicon Valley any more."
Mr Jordan cited Adobe's own launch of its Creative Suite recently as an example of how companies needed to shift from just gathering fans on social media to persuading them to make a purchase. "In that campaign social outpaced paid search in terms of revenue and traffic," he said.
"This was not a rocket science campaign. But in the rigour and discipline we are able to put in to measure (it), we were able to pull insights out that changed the way we're thinking about marketing.
"Where, before, social supported our marketing efforts, now social has a seat at the table next to paid search, display advertising and on-site optimisation (for search marketing)."
Last week, the International Advertising Association released global research showing that understanding social media was the main concern for marketers, ad agencies and media.
Some 79 per cent of survey respondents said the rise of social media was the biggest change facing marketers and more than 60 per cent said implementing new social media programs was a top priority. Recent figures from Nielsen revealed more than two out of three Australians have a social media profile.
Mr Jordan said companies that were looking at social media with a wary eye because of consumer backlashes and negative media coverage should not be scared off.
"The conversation is happening with or without you," he said.
"It's going to happen. If you don't create it, your lack of participation in the conversation doesn't stop it from happening, so you might as well be involved."
He said adopting social media platforms was forcing brands to move from a world of public relations and spin to transparency with their customers.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012