But it can certainly be mastered... GGi Communications' Tameron Carneson takes a look at the ever-changing, rapidly changing world in which we live and asks whether General Motors has made the right decision regarding advertising on Facebook.
For the past month or so, many a conversation topic and opinion article has been about the subject of General Motors' decision to pull all of their Facebook advertising - and for good reason... Facebook has arguably been the most progressive social media platform making inroads in the arena of targeted advertising, next to Google of course. The question is - did GM make the right decision to pull their entire US$10m Facebook spend... Or was it a bit hasty? Could they have reassessed their spend to look at ways to make both their advertising and general content strategy work to ensure even better results?
We have reason to believe the answer lies in the latter question (and the answer is - yes), but I'll get to that shortly. First we need to do a bit of scene setting.
The reality of the world today, is that everything is changing all the time and it is changing faster than is comfortable for many of us. This is especially true in the world of marketing and the result is that brands and the companies and people that market them, must be willing (and able) to have a flexible, multifaceted approach that uses a number of elements (or rather the right combination of elements) working in unison to achieve an outlined communication objective.
It sounds like marketing 101, right?
Well, it really is much simpler than you think. Assess the objectives of a campaign and decide on the desired outcomes. Then develop a strategy that uses a number of elements that will best aid in achieving said outcomes. But! ... And it's a BIG but... Be prepared for things to change - and for them to change fast. Allow for moments of reassessment and measurement in order to monitor progress and then be willing and able to adapt accordingly.
And this is one really great thing about social media. It is about as current a form of communication as can possibly exist, it really does allow for genuine and meaningful consumer engagement (if managed properly) and it allows for clear measurement at any point.
So, did GM make the right decision?
So back to that question... and why we think GM should have reassessed their spend to look at ways to make both their advertising and general content strategy work to ensure better results.
Back in 2008, when it was still early days for Facebook, all of its beneficial immediacy and engagement characteristics proved useful and effective in a campaign that GGi ran on the social media platform for General Motors.
Although the platform has seen many visual and functional changes since then (things change all the time and they change fast - remember?), the principles remain the same. And this has made us question GM's recent decision to pull all of their Facebook advertising.
OK, so we were talking about GM and Facebook in 2008...
The automotive giant was about to launch a brand new car - the Opel Corsa OPC - and they needed to launch it with an extremely limited budget.
Who better to maximise a limited budget than your PR agency right? RIGHT!
Working with GGi as their PR partner at the time, GM briefed the agency to come up with a proposal that would:
Create talkability (so 2008) around the Corsa OPC launch. Get the target market to experience the vehicle.
GGi then conceptualised a Facebook-centric campaign that used a multi-pronged approach including viral marketing, online advertising, content development and management to engage with consumers on the brand's Facebook page in addition to traditional PR.
OK, so that sounds fairly straight forward, but what made it effective you ask?
The right combination of sincere consumer engagement, with an exciting experience and relevant messaging communicated through social media engagement, PR and advertising.
The specific target audience - young, upwardly mobile professional - was targeted via a qualified referrals approach and given the opportunity to use this brand new, premium vehicle for 24 hours. The qualified referrals were reached through paid-for online ads, a viral "competition" call to entry mechanism, social media ad placements and corporate user group placements.
The vehicles were then delivered to the winning consumers amid a flurry of hoopla and fanfare at their place of work. A personal delivery courtesy of General Motors, in front of their peers and colleagues, making them look like the ultimate in cool (if it was 2012 the hipsters would have been drooling). They were then allowed to use the spiffy car for their personal use for a 24-hour period.
And do with it what they would, they did! One winner drove the car from Jozi to the Mother City and back before returning it to the safety of GM! Talk about putting the car through its paces.
The combination of all the contributing marketing elements, with the attention drawn to the exciting delivery process of the "test vehicles", resulted in significant traffic to the Facebook page, notable word of mouth within the target market and FB stats that speak for themselves:
Total unique entries: 1500 Total overall entries: 1860 User-group membership: 660 and growing 6242 leads generated from 9 040 012 impressions 152 people experienced the Corsa OPC for 24hrs
But the biggest coup of all?
Besides the fact that the campaign was run from briefing to completion in less than a month, this campaign resulted in actual sales! Naturally - GM was one happy client.
Why then, with a case study like this to the brand's credit, has GM decided to pull all of their Facebook advertising? As one of the largest advertisers in the US, it was a bold move. They released this statement after the Wall Street Journal published its story...
"We regularly review our overall media spend and make adjustments as needed. This happens as a regular course of business and it's not unusual for us to move our spending around various media outlets - especially with the growth of multiple social and digital media outlets. In terms of Facebook specifically, while we currently do not plan to continue with advertising, we remain committed to an aggressive content strategy through all of our products and brands, as it continues to be a very effective tool for engaging with our customers."
We cannot help but wonder how their regular reviews are conducted and if they take into account the fact that marketing via social media is not an exact science, nor does it operate effectively in a silo, but rather needs to be viewed as part of the overall mix of elements operating seamlessly as an engagement and story telling tool.
Or is there more to this story than they are letting on...?
I was listening to conversation on radio regards advertising on Facebook the other day.The lingering question posed was just this.....how many 'likes' on Facebook actually convert to actual Sales? Posted on 12 Jun 2012 15:13
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