Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bunchball's Founder & CEO - Follow Up Interview on Social Media

Thank you Rajat Paharia, Founder & CEO, Bunchball for providing your comments!

What is your advice to brands who want to participate in the social media (i.e., companies social networking sites, posting comments on third-party blogs, etc)?

I would tell brands to broaden their definition of consumer connection to go beyond advertising. Just thinking about advertising on a small group of narrowly defined Social Media sites will not solve the problem. The question they should be asking is: "How can I connect with and engage my customers ON THEIR TERMS?" That is, in a meaningful and relevant way that also achieves my Brand objectives. Many brands are still locked into the belief that they should push more and more impressions at consumers who don't want them. That model is broken. Using social media as just another source of inventory or eyeballs misses the point entirely. I believe Brands should focus on engaging with their consumers, not on ad delivery; and these new approaches to driving engagement are not only preferable, they are essential for the brand's success. They also drive superior ROI.

How can the effectiveness of the social media advertising be improved (form the publishers' perspective)?

I believe that many advertisers forget the context and intrusiveness of advertising when consumers are involved in certain activities. Is it really appropriate for Tide to try to be someone's Facebook friend? The effectiveness can be improved if the Brands find ways to be relevant to the conversation. If they are intrusive or irrelevant, they will do more damage than doing nothing. If brands find ways of participating with consumers in areas that they feel passionate about, eg. social causes, then the brands create positive association and benefits while tapping into their consumers core needs. That process builds strong consumer loyalty far beyond just the delivery of the brand message through and ad.

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