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BizReport : Social Marketing : September 11, 2019

How brands can improve their social status

Social is becoming more important to merchants and brands by the day, but many brands are still unsure how to best use social or how to develop a social strategy that represents their brand well. We spoke with a social marketing expert about how brands can improve their use of social to improve the consumer connection.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: At this point, how important is social to brands' overall ad strategy?

Apu Gupta, CEO, Curalate: For many brands, social isn't just a traffic source. It's becoming a content source.

Viewed through that lens, social is becoming increasingly important to overall ad strategies. Content created for social and on social can be used to feed programmatic ad programs and help optimize performance metrics like CPA and ROAS.

Brands, too, are placing social content in OOH, direct mail, and other offline campaigns to build social proof at the top of the funnel.

Kristina: We're hearing more about Instagram engagement. Do you foresee Instagram pushing past Facebook as far as engagement/marketing ROI goes?

Apu: Instagram's about engaging as it comes, so this wouldn't surprise me. It does such a good job of helping connect consumers to brands in a way that feels delightful, but that doesn't always translate to marketing ROI--as traditionally measured through metrics like ROAS and CPA.

Brands are looking to win consumer attention online earlier and earlier, and platforms are focused on helping them get there. Right now, it seems like Instagram has an edge in that category.

Kristina: What is drawing more consumers to content on Instagram vs. Facebook, Twitter, et al?

Apu: More than anything, Instagram plays to our need for discovery. It prioritizes helping its users find stuff they never knew existed. While other social channels try do this, too, they don't have a lock on this the way Instagram does.

Kristina: How might Google's push into shoppable content/images impact merchants and brands?

Apu: Google's approach to shoppable content shows there's a general consensus among the social and search platform giants that discovery matters. It is the phase of the customer journey where brands are now fighting for consumers: discovery merges the best interests of the consumer -- "show me something new" -- with the best interests of brands -- "show me new customers".

For brands, discovery--whether it's on Google, Instagram, or Pinterest--is going to become the new place to fight for consumers. And, to do that, they're going to need the same type of inspirational, lifestyle content that brands have been creating for social for years now. But those images? They're often stuck on social, living 24 to 48 hours and then fading into irrelevance. This happens because most brands lack the tools to repurpose lifestyle content into a shopping context at scale.

Tags: Curalate, ecommerce, ecommerce trends, social marketing, social marketing tips, social marketing trends, social shopping

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