Putting Social Media to Work to Improve Advertising

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I had the pleasure recently to be part of a panel discussion about social media listening at this year’s Advertising Week conference in Washington DC. In addition to the usual basic questions about social media monitoring, measurement and brand activation, the session got me thinking about how much more the advertising industry should be doing to tap into social media to deliver improved results for clients and better service for consumers.

There are plenty of brands and agencies that utilize a social media listening platform to track consumer buzz and sentiment after they launch an advertising campaign, but that’s social media monitoring 101. The objective should be to transition from static after-the-fact social media monitoring to active Social Media Intelligence.

Social Media Intelligence occurs when brands apply online conversation analysis throughout the entire advertising process, from campaign planning to creative development to media planning to campaign measurement and success assessment. In fact, if advertisers really want to move to the head of the class, insights from consumers in social networks would be included in campaigns as they occur.

I have seen campaigns where trends in social media clearly indicated the advertising had missed the mark with consumers on product messaging or calls to action that could have easily been reworked and enhanced – but instead these campaigns continued to run for months and then later were deemed a failure. This is way more common than you would imagine.

One of the reasons advertisers, marketers, researchers, communicators and many others are still not deploying social media platforms to their full extent is our industry was pegged from the start as a “monitoring” solution – something you do after-the-fact.

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it – social media monitoring is non-strategic. Social listening, and better yet, Social Intelligence is active and elevates the discipline to a strategic place at the planning table. In fact, if you really want to be creative, sit down and start applying all of the gained social media knowledge from every marketing initiative this year to your upfront planning for all of next year’s campaigns.

I also want to acknowledge there was a wealth of terrific other insights shared at the conference, especially from my co-panelists, Melyssa Plunkett-Gomez of Crimson Hexagon, Lauren Vargas of Radian6, and moderator Jonathan Kopp of Ketchum Digital.

We’ve come a long way in our work for advertisers in a short period of time, but the there is still much work to be done.

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