Brand Marketing vs. Direct Marketing: Crafting a Smart Social Media Strategy for 2019

Are you getting ready to put your best foot forward with social media marketing in 2019? Before you sign up for that Hootsuite free trial, we’d like to throw a shiny wrench into your digital marketing plan for 2019:

Create a content strategy that involves not just direct marketing, but brand marketing as well.

What’s the difference?

Direct marketing measures clicks, impressions, and conversions. It’s crucial to understanding your content reach; that is, how many people are actually taking action once they’ve seen your post, video, or ad?

Most digital marketing agencies will focus solely on direct marketing, primarily because it’s easy to place on a graph and clients love seeing that green arrow letting them know that “things are working”. And generally speaking, those green arrows are signs of good online behavior. But what also needs to be considered is the impact a brand is having on a greater scale.

Brand marketing is a more intangible strategy that focuses on presence, tension, and experience. It’s more about building a culture around your brand than acquiring sales. We call these types of efforts “touchpoints”, and it’s just as important as a click or share.

For example, if Nike were to pay for two sponsored posts on Instagram, one with a direct marketing angle and the other with a brand marketing angle, the first might be a compiled video of athletes running in the latest Nike shoe, with a “swipe up” feature to buy. The latter post would focus more on the creative than the product: maybe a slow zoom of a runner crouched down on the track, paired with dramatic music and copy surrounding “the silence before the storm”, etc.

The first post wants you to buy the shoes. The second post wants you to be part of the Nike universe.

You can’t possibly measure the impact of the second post, but it’s just as important.

Here are some questions you and your digital marketing agency should be asking as they craft your social media strategy for 2019:

1. How much of our efforts will be focused on direct marketing vs. brand marketing?

2. Are users able to quickly associate our brand with the imagery and videos we post?

3. What type of experience do we want users to expect once they interact with us? How can we make sure that is communicated both visually and verbally?

4. What websites / platforms do our users engage with on a daily basis, and how can we naturally be present?

5. What are our competitors doing and how can we pivot our content to remain different / one step ahead?

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