Social media is like a tempting wishing well, inviting you to dive in for faster customer engagement, to generate a strong online presence, to build greater retention, and to foster loyalty. Today, brands are racing to be lovemarks in the form of desire, need, and relevance in the lives of their customers. Finding the way to a customer’s heart is an exercise borrowed from the left-brain vs. right-brain theory. The right side of our brain is the creative source of words, powerful imagery, and imagination, while the left side of the brain is the steady, grounded sage that speaks reason and logic by measuring practical risks and possible outcomes. While both sources of creative and critical thinking may not, well, agree all the time, it is essential for a brand’s journey to follow imagination and measure impact through an integrated social media marketing strategy.
There’s the promise of data analytics that defines a specific outcome. And there’s the creative wish to go beyond reason, break all boundaries, and build memorability with a brave, bold narrative that resonates with the world.
Which road map should brands prioritise? Should they go the data-driven way or stay creatively spirited only? A successful marketing campaign requires the expertise and the magic of both roadmaps to reach the final goal of memorability and customer loyalty.
So, let’s try to understand how these two digital strategies work independently:
The Data-Driven Approach
Data-driven social media strategies involve studying metrics, such as engagement rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, reach, impressions and audience growth rate and demographics. Data-driven marketers rely on analytics tools and platforms to gather insights about their social media performance.
Advantages of a Data-Driven Approach:
1. Improved ROI
By diligently tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and making data-informed decisions, businesses can optimise their resource allocation, ultimately resulting in an improved return on investment (ROI).
For instance, IBM has improved its return on investment (ROI) by getting deeper insights by interconnecting the martech set up along with social media management platforms and transformed the social media content strategy.
2. Reach the right people
Data-driven marketing can enable highly targeted campaigns with unique, personalised messaging for each customer. Data offers insight into each customer, including their interests, and online behaviour.
Once again, the IBM team managed social media platforms through the integrated digital martech set up which helped analyse the audience reach, engagement and conversations. These platforms also enabled team to build better and engaging viral content to build higher reach and extend the reach through paid campaigns offering single view point of impact through social media content
3. Know what’s working and what is not: A/B test & experiment
According to an Adobe survey, companies that embrace A/B testing experience an average 60% increase in conversion rates. It puts users at the centre of decision-making. It further allows product teams to make iterations based on user behaviours rather than a simple hunch. A/B testing on social media is a powerful tool for powering the most effective ads for your campaign.
The Creative-Driven Approach
Creative-driven social media strategies emphasise the importance of compelling story-telling. This story could be an insight that’s worded beautifully or simply the power of imagery. This approach revolves around that elusive “big idea” that becomes the hook for a brand’s appeal, hoping to tug the right heartstrings and define a permanent bond through emotion, humour, visual aesthetics, benefits, or a strong aspiration.
Advantages of a Creative-Driven Approach:
1. Building brand perception:
It’s like donning a distinctive outfit that helps your brand stand out amidst the crowd.
Let’s take a look at the whacky, iconic case of CRED.
A 2018 fintech start-up that’s primarily about rewarding people who pay their credit card bills on time recently hit the headlines. A member-only club that entertained certain people with a defined credit score, redefined their positioning by showing exclusivity through their communication – eg., how even stars like Anil Kapoor, and Madhuri Dixit, don’t get selected for CRED ads. Therefore highlighting the unbelievable part of the brand and displaying how CRED rewards are unbelievable. This macro-strategy had everyone in colleges, schools, and parties talking about this unicorn that proved itself to be a true differentiator.
Why does this matter? Well, consider this: A Nielsen report reveals that a whopping 59% of consumers prefer to purchase new products from brands they can relate to. In essence, creativity becomes the secret sauce that not only distinguishes your brand but also keeps your audience coming back for more.
2. Emotional Engagement:
Who can forget the cool-headed “Wall” AKA Rahul Dravid getting angry & shouting ‘Indiranagar ka Gunda Hoon Main’ from a car? A never-seen-before avatar, carrying forward the strain of quirk, CRED featured well-known Bollywood faces like Madhuri Dixit, Govinda, Bappi Lahiri & Alka Yagnik auditioning for the CRED ads. These ads cleverly tapped into the nostalgia of the ’90s era, invoking a sense of fond remembrance among millennials and creating a strong top-of-the-mind recall.
In a world where content can quickly fade into the background, creative pieces that evoke nostalgia and surprise the audience with a bit of quirk have the power to stand out and leave a lasting impression.
Cred’s Mega Jackpot Week during IPL 2021 was as grand as its name suggests. Cred gave away seven rewards that consisted of Harley Davidson, iPhones, free flights for five years, Gold, TATA Safari, etc – a host of truly Mega Jackpot wins that truly excited its loyal customer base.
Another brilliant viral move by Cred was in 2019 when the brand sent out cakes for customer acquisition. Cred sent cakes to existing users in their workplaces. Receiving a cake, generated curiosity and colleagues asked the receiver, “Who sent you this cake?”, The answer was Cred, and the reason was that they pay their credit card bills on Cred. This move enticed office go-ers to install the app and start using it for credit card payments.
CRED’s unique approach to influencer collaborations also serves as a valuable lesson for other brands. Rather than confining partnerships to industry-specific influencers, the brand has boldly teamed up with influencers from various niches, excluding finance—a move that has yielded exceptional results.
So, now, how do we strike the right balance and hit the sweet spot through both these approaches?
1. Your voice is distinct: foster authenticity
While drawing inspiration from data is essential, avoid replicating competitors’ strategies at the cost of neglecting your unique brand authenticity and voice. Find an innovative path to share your story distinctly. Tap into the untapped arena of human desires, benefits, and aspirations. What is so distinct about your offering and why should it be a part of every customer’s life? Use data to inspire captivating content that resonates with your audience. Gather ideas by analysing trends, discovering popular keywords and hashtags related to your field, or even reviewing competitors’ most successful posts. Utilise these insights as a springboard for your creative endeavours.
2. David Ogilvy says, “The customer is not a moron. She is your wife.”
So, understand your audience:
To strike a balance between data-driven and creative-driven social media strategies, it is crucial to gain an in-depth understanding of your target audience. Start by analysing your followers’ demographic data to identify their age range, interests, preferences, and pain points. Use this information to segment your audience so that you can effectively tailor your content to suit different groups of people.
3. Dabble in some trial and error
Don’t hesitate to experiment with various types of content formats like images, videos, gifs, or carousel posts. Analyse performance metrics to identify which formats resonate best with your specific audience segments and adjust content accordingly. Continually testing and analysing results will allow you to find the perfect blend of creativity and data-backed strategy.
4. Keep tabs on your triumphs
Consistently monitoring performance metrics tied to your goals at regular intervals enables you to gain insights from the data. These insights allow you to pinpoint the aspects of your content that resonate most with your audience, thus empowering you to make informed decisions regarding where to direct your creative efforts. The final step in achieving a harmonious blend of creativity and data-driven decision-making involves learning from your results and applying those lessons to future campaigns. Utilising tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, or HubSpot to measure and analyse campaign performance is invaluable in assessing how well you’ve met your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).
By leveraging this newfound knowledge from your results, you can discern what worked effectively and what didn’t, thus equipping you to enhance your next campaign.
In the ever-changing landscape of social media marketing, finding the sweet spot between data-driven and creative-driven strategies is key. Data helps you make smart decisions, while creativity helps your brand shine and connect with your audience on a personal level. By embracing both approaches and regularly fine-tuning your strategy, you can unlock the full power of social media to meet your business goals. It’s not about picking one over the other; it’s about blending them to craft a winning social media strategy. Want one for your brand too? Contact our team at Eridium now!