Social Media drives brand growth better than any other channel because it is :
One of the only full funnel media channels
Available to brands at any budget
Surprised to hear me say this? It doesn’t invalidate everything else I believe, including that hucksters who tell you that social is “the only channel you should be investing in!!!” are anything more than hucksters. They do have half a point, but that’s about it.
“Wait…idiot proof?” Doesn’t the creative matter? Absolutely.
Do you want a sharp data sciences team crafting your social buys? You bet.
Are you throwing your money away by running paid social without these advantages? Not likely.
There are Two Primary Reasons for This:
Social media is so, so cheap - both to buy and create content for - meaning endless inexpensive testing is possible (note, however, that pricing will go up as a “data apocalypse” hits with third party data)
Social media can be tailored to any stage of the consumer decision journey - even if you have no idea what a consumer decision journey is
Like TV, Social can reach and influence a consumer at any stage of purchase consideration. While Awareness is fairly obvious, Social might be even better at driving Consideration because of its ability to target people by need states or consumers who are have already engaged with you through retargeting. Though retargeting can get creepy and annoying, there’s a reason brands do it - it works. And in terms of converting consumers and driving purchase, clear calls to action, retargeting and high frequency make social one of the strongest e-commerce conversion channels.
What Does this Mean for Growth-Oriented Brands?
For smaller growth-oriented brands in particular, use social as your incubator - for ideas, messages, audiences and aesthetic - relentlessly test what works best and with whom as “free” research that has the side benefit of growing your brand while you go.
For larger growth-oriented brands, social is a complement to your work in other marketing and media channels. Unlike many of those channels, social gives you a chance to expand your messaging and change it inexpensively, something you often cannot do with “TV” spots.
What Growth-Oriented Brands Should Do?
1. Use social as a research tool
Social can give you insights into what messaging, targets and creative types are most resonant for your brand’s growth. This is second nature to start up brands, but established brands make the mistake of failing to use Social as an incubator for new product formats, business lines or message testing.
2. Be focused
Is Social going to serve as the Awareness creator for your brand? Does it drive advocacy between consumers? Or will it convert people who have already met you? Focus on your top 1-2 objectives and your social media plan will instantly reward you with higher growth and better returns.
3. Know where variety can replace resources
Creating many “good” creatives is often more effective than trying to create one “perfect” creative. The truth is we only half-know what will resonate with consumers. I have seen heavily researched taglines drive miserable results until the colors of the creative were changed from red to blue.
Social Media is a no-brainer for growing brands, but the strategy is what separates the good campaigns from the great. And that strategy transcends which social partner you most rely on and the budgets you set. Get testing.