Welcome back to B2Bento’s interview with Prantik Mazumdar, Rachit Dayal, and David Liem of SEO & Social Media agency Happy Marketer.

In Part Three social media entered the conversation. Now with part four of nine, we’re going to flesh that out with more discussion on metrics and mindsets.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interview are the personal views of the interviewees and and do not necessarily represent the philosophies or viewpoints of their organization or clients.

 (Anol Bhattacharya – AB, Prantik Mazumdar – PM, Rachit Dayal – RD, and David Liem – DL)

RD: One of the things that irks me is on Monday morning, you get the ‘Happy Monday morning’ posts. Oh my God. Somebody needs to do better copywriting than that, than saying ‘Monday morning’.

PM: But its funny, like, you know, if I look at a lot of pages, so that’s where the beauty comes in. I think social metrics that are being defined today by the likes, comments and shares, I think that’s very – I like to call – they are vanity metrics because lots of pages like Starbucks or even Café Coffee Day in India does ‘Happy Monday morning’ or ‘Hello Singapore’.

You’ll suddenly see they’ll get tens of thousands of likes, but whether that’s valuable to you or meaningful is a big question.

Coming to your issue of content I think there are 2 fundamental mindset issues. One is, you see, for about 3 or 4 decades marketers have just been taught or been practicing to just talk about their product. They don’t talk about issues around the industry.

The content has to be not just about the product, but about things that matter to the customers, and I think we are seeing this shift in very large organizations like Coca-Cola, Lenovo etc. Look at Coca-Cola, right – they’ve become a publishing house in itself. They’ve just bought shares in Spotify. They are buying companies or investing into content platforms because they realize how much you can talk about a Coca-Cola. I mean it’s just a can of drink. I think its also the mindset and the cost.

Recently I attended an event where this Lenovo guy, I forget his name, he’s the head of social strategy for the entire global operations out of Singapore. He said their annual investments, purely on content, is at the least about 300-400,000 US dollars. Now the challenge is, he says, does Lenovo have that money? Yes, but the question is how do I justify to the bosses saying: look spend $400,000 on content, on Facebook content where I can’t guarantee any return.

I think people need to go beyond this myopic view that by just pushing out content I’m going to get sales because it’s important. It’s very difficult to get the audience to engage if you just talk about laptops and Coca-Cola drinks all day.

AB: You were mentioning actually 2 specific problems, not one. That this change from product-specific talking to talking something agnostic but still having the context around the category. Nobody cares if you are a vacuum cleaner company and posting pictures of kittens. Talking about products doesn’t mean you get the chance to put kitten pictures in your Facebook.

I think there’s this mindset gap in there. Now taking from that now if things are getting a little bit matured. Now when you convince a client about what kind of expectations from social they should have, what would you tell them? I normally tell my clients that if your product sucks, your sales is bad, and your other marketing is bad, social is not going to help you. So how do you manage the expectations of your client nowadays regarding social?

RD: So there is a practical consideration that when someone signs the paycheck they need to report some KPIs. They need to show how many likes, how many shares.

AB: But does that ‘like’ thing at all matter?

RD: So I say we don’t fight. You need likes, we’ll start with likes, and then let’s move to the real stuff; and the real stuff, if we have a slightly mid-term outlook, is we can influence sales and measure what the buzz outside of Facebook is. What people are talking about it on the web and so on. We can measure the clicks on to analytics and see if these same people come back through other mediums and convert.

So there are ways in which social eventually transplants and if you look at the customer cycle over a little while we can actually tie it back to some results. Your enquiries, your leads, your sales, and we can say this has a positive influence because I can measure it but they have to obviously know that this takes a little while, that’s why it’s your slightly mid-term projects.

So we say yes, sure, likes, shares, whatever, let’s start from there.

PM: I think the other thing we sometimes, beyond what Rachit said, that’s a very true point. If someone comes to us for likes we don’t fight it. That’s a chance for us to get a new client. We try and solve his or her immediate need but I think social has a beautiful purpose beyond just leads and sales.

Sometimes you have a conversation with clients saying look, you can use it for customer service. A lot of clients are using Twitter for customer service, Facebook, you could have some tabs to do that. You could use it for market research and crowd-sourced stuff.

I think that yes, that wouldn’t help me sell a project immediately in most cases, unless the marketer is really matured, so we start off with the low-hanging fruit and then we try and see what are the problems. Social, many companies are using for recruitment, like LinkedIn.

A lot of companies are using for customer service, crowdsourced stuff, and some companies are using it even for sales. For example if there’s an element of e-commerce we could also incorporate that into a Facebook shop.

So we start with a low-hanging fruit and then hopefully spread our wings to get a bigger piece of the pie, solving different problems.

Part Five, revolving around analytics and the age-old data vs information debate, coming up next.

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