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Interview: Tim Fogarty, Strategist, M80

Fogarty explains the nuances of Social Medium and how he is making it work harder and smarter for brands.

By Neha Saraiya

In a white paper released on Social Media last month by the Media major, MediaCom, it revealed that for a brand its must to create a clear strategy for Social Media, with each campaign requiring an individual approach.  But in the Globalisation Era, every brand behaves differently in every market, making the medium as a criss-cross puzzle for marketers.

Thus, in response to an e-mail interview from New York, Tim Fogarty, Strategist, M80 explains the nuances of Social Medium and how he is making it work harder and smarter for brands.

Q) If social media can be used to the brand’s advantage, then the competitors can also twist it the other way to a brand’s disadvantage. So how a company should encounter these problems?

From my vantage point, brands using social media to attack competitors can do this in one of three ways:  a) Unethical, “black ops“-style tactics b) Direct discussion of a competitor’s weak points c)      Drawing a competitor into spending too much effort on social media.

Point 1 is off the table among most advertisers, and ethically unacceptable. Point 2 is a natural extension of the conversation in social media, and as such will and should happen. The question is, should the attacked brand hit back with an equally frank discussion of the other’s weak points, or should the brand focus more on addressing their own weak points and communicating that process through social channels?

Point 3 leads out of point 2 – it is only too easy for brands to focus too much on a petty slap from a competitor when improved product or communications could offer greater benefits.

Q) Like you mentioned that identifying ROI on this medium can be tricky.. Thus, what’s that one simple key that helps to solve this magnum issue?

Measuring ROI in social media isn’t difficult, determining the full value and the marketing role of social media is. Brands are wise to select and focus on the KPIs most important to the health of the brand and implement the tools to measure success against those.

Q) Some major networking sites like facebook et al have restricted entries in some countries (like china). Then in this case, how the brands that have omnipresence should formulate their social media strategy?

Global brands ‘range of needs dictate that there is no one single answer to this question. That said, local communities‘needs should be catered to with appropriate responses and resources.

Q) Big brands have already made their presence on the social networking platform in a noticeable manner, but how does a small or mid-scale company should leverage on this platform?

SMB’s requirements of social media should be determined through an analysis of the businesses needs. Once determined, there is a wide array of cost-effective solutions catering to needs ranging from branding to direct sales.

Q) On an average of 100%, how much is the ideal budget set for social media strategy these days by companies?

Again repeating a theme – there is no one answer to this, but budgets should allow for a consistent review of consumer behaviours in social media to drive adjusted strategies and tactics.

Q) A common mistake by brands often while implementing a social media strategy is that they forget to carry the communication in a two-way approach.. How this can be rectified?

This requires a fundamental behaviour change on the part of brand managers and agencies – and that’s not easy. Industry education – from business schools, from the trades, and from agencies – needs to reinforce the changing roles and tactics of two-way brand/consumer communications.

Neha@BestMediaInfo.com

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