When social media and marketing collide

Recently I was asked to respond to some interesting questions during a conversation with one of my peers. The convo related to the marketing industry in South Africa and of course, social media’s role within the space. Below is a taste of my thoughts and experiences within the sector to date.

1. What has been  the best example of a campaign you’ve managed which enhanced the growth of the brand’s digital community?

There are two campaigns that stand out for me. One was the 2008 “Converse Century” campaign whereby the online community created on Facebook (19K+ fans) and on the blog (1500+ members) far outgrew the campaign period, which now, has resulted in a sustained community for the Converse brand in South Africa.

The second campaign I was involved in running was the successful release campaign of the Seacom cable. Being part of the telecoms industry, a brand that was fairly unknown in Jan 2009 went on to become one of the best known brands within the broadband space in a very short period of time. The community created on Twitter, the blog, forums and Facebook grew exponentially in the 6-month period of the project and to date, this has increased the benefits to the brand.

Vodacom’s recent activity in terms of their customer service engagement, for which I’m also involved in as a Cerebra’s Content & Community Manager, and their consistent messaging for the “Join the Voice behind Bafana Bafana” campaign has also won them accolades, and created a great, thriving community online for the brand.

2. What is the state of the media-buying market outside of global events like World Cup?  What opportunities does this give brands?

Digital media will always thrive and is definitely growing and expanding to include new technologies in South Africa. I think the face of advertising in terms of advertising  sports events, fashion and most consumer products will benefit tremendously through the use of online media spend, which is often seen as being cheaper to use than traditional media channels.

Post #SWC10, the growth in the social media market will increase, with more brands utilizing more engagement-rich platforms to recommend their products to niches as opposed to pushing their messaging out to the consumer. (For more on this subject matter, you’d have to pick my brain on this over a cuppa, as my thoughts are much too extensive to place here)

3. Why is social media so popular for young people in South Africa?

For a multitude of reasons actually. Social networking is new and edgy which is what we, as “young people” are into – it keeps us on par with our European and American peers. It is a great leveler in terms of bridging the communication divide between the haves and have-nots i.e. you can be rich or poor and still have access to Facebook, Twitter or MXit.

We’re able to connect globally and instantly to each other, share ideas, engage and interact all from a mobile device or laptop without having to spend a lot of cash to do so. Lastly and the most important reason of all is that we’re social beings down to our very core, and it is this need to connect and interact that pushes us towards social networks, in whatever form they present themselves, and which drives this basic human need for communication.

4. Where would you like to see yourself career-wise in 5 years? (This one was a little bleh but nevertheless, I answered)

I’d like to see my career transform and evolve just as the SM space in South Africa evolves and grows. I’m one of the pioneers to have initiated social media content strategies for companies and brands in South Africa. Therefore since keeping my focus in this industry over the past 3 years, as it develops and grows so too will my role in it. In terms of my current position, I’d like to be able to take on more of a higher management role that includes more strategic decision-making and consultation than content management and generation.

5. What a makes a great advert?

One that contains a memorable hook and something that will leave a lasting impression. It cannot be fleeting or trivial in order for it to stand out. Coca-Cola‘s advertising has always stood out for me. Their advertising has always taken on an iconic feel to it and hence it remains top of mind for me. Right now, my favourite is their #SWC10 animated advert using K’naan’s “Waving Flag” song – it really captures the spirit of the World Cup and the tenacity of the fans.