Ciarán Norris is a digital marketer specialising in SEO, social media marketing & online PR. Ciarán is based in London where he works as the Head of Social Media at MindShare. Mindshare is a media communications agency employing 6,000 people in 67 countries delivering integrated media solutions across all channels and platforms.
Q1. What are the most important social media platforms at the moment?
It’s a bit of a cop-out, but the most important ones are those your customers are using. Obviously Facebook is the giant of the channel, whilst Twitter gets all the hype, but if you’re in Asia, neither of those are available in China, whilst Orkut is still strong (for now) in Brazil & India. In the Philipines Friendster is still massive (no, really): just because you read about a site in the papers all the time, doesn’t mean it’s where your customers are.
Q2. How do you see Social Media has changed the advertising communication?
There have been huge claims made for how social has destroyed the old advertising model, but I don’t think that’s quite true. What it’s done is enabled advertising, or marketing, to be created in such a way that consumers can truly get involved. And of course it’s also now much easier for those same consumers to mock the ads they dislike. Let’s not forget that many of the biggest ‘viral’ successes of the last few years started with huge TV campaigns.
Q3. How do you measure the effects of Social Media Marketing?
I measure success based on the objectives of the campaign: this might be something like views, or brand minutes (time spent engaging with content).But it might also be direct sales, uplift in brand awareness or intent to purchase. The reason so many struggle to measure effectiveness is that they don’t set clear objectives at the start of the campaign.
Q4. What social media platforms would you recommend to a company that is just starting their online marketing?
I’d really refer them to my answer to the first question – it depends! If their customers are using Facebook, they should check that out. If they’re watching videos, they should think about YouTube. It’s really important that people pick the tool for the job, not the job for the tool.
Q5. What are the key points to remember when a business starts using Social Media?
Don’t be too scared – there are all sorts of horror stories, but most of those could have been avoided with a dose of good old fashioned common sense.
Q6. How does Social Media Marketing differ from traditional marketing?
It allows consumers to interact in ways they never could before. Rather than just shouting at the TV, you can tell tens, or hundreds, or even thousands of people how you feel about a brand, a product, or an ad.
Q7. Do you think every company (that has a website) should have a Social Media Strategy? Why?
Not in the sense that many people would mean it (i.e. have a strategy for using Facebook/Twitter etc.) but they should definitely be thinking about how they make all their media social. If your client base is 100 CFOs globally, and you can produce some content that one of those passes to one of the others, you’ve gon social and you’ve won.
Q8. How do you see Facebook as a Social Media Marketing tool?
I see Facebook as a platform more than a tool. The advertising opportunities are (relatively) limited, compared to ‘traditional’ sites, but this pushes marketers to be more inventive – it forces us to think about how we can make our brands fit into the things that people are already doing on the site. Rather than just advertising (though that is an important element), we should be looking to provide entertainment, or dialogue, or adding utility.
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