Brands Lag in Use of Social Media

Campaigns need to move from "likes" to engaging

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

Yesterday’s panel of marketing executives at the Online Publishers Association’s second annual Social Media Day opened with a question from moderator Curtis Hougland, the founder of social firm Attention: How many of the publishers in the room were involved in campaigns where social media was ancillary and how many had campaigns with social media in a central role?

With a show of hands, the majority of attendees indicated the former, signaling how much work marketers have ahead of them.

Social integration is "at a very early stage,” Pam Horan, president of the OPA, told Adweek. “On one hand we heard that social was ancillary, but on the other hand…the type of experiences they want to drive through their marketing and advertising is going to be more and more social.”

Whether or not a campaign has an intentionally social aspect, it will inevitably become social, said Faris Yakob, chief innovation officer at MDC Partners and one of the panelists. “It isn’t really up to you anymore. If you don’t put it up on YouTube, someone else will.”

It’s the ability to share a campaign that makes fans engage, said PHD social media director Andrea Wolinetz, another panelist. “What matters is what people can take and share and use as representations of who they are,” she said. But just racking up huge numbers of fans isn’t enough, she added. A brand needs evangelists not just people who “like,” or “follow” or “pin” its content. A campaign has to change behaviors, not just attitudes, said Wolinetz.

So where does the publisher fit into this equation?

Media companies have relationships with fans that are hard for brands to replicate, brands have to take advantage of them to build successful social campaigns, panelists said.

“It puts the publishers in a unique position to be able to extend that experience,” Horan said. “The opportunity for the brands to partner with publishers to deliver these compelling programs is something that we’re finding marketers wanting to do more and more.”

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.
Publish date: March 7, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT