Social Media’s Purpose in Experiential Marketing

In today’s world information isn’t available only at our desks, but also at the palm of our hands, where information has began to consume our lives as we run a Google search or ask Siri about any doubt we may have on the go. Information is now more available than ever. What matters now is how much we can do with that information. What matters is if we can synthesize what we know and apply it as knowledge, as something innovating, in order to create value to ourselves (and others).

A lot of the information that we consume today comes from our daily routine of social media. Social networking now accounts for 28% of all media use. If that statistic wasn’t surprising enough, then how about the fact that the world collectively spends 39,757 years on Facebook each day?

So what exactly are we using that information for? Are we synthesizing it into knowledge? Is it creating any value for us?

Before thinking “no” – which admit it, I know you did – think again. It may not generate any direct value to people, but it’s a whole different story for brands. Marketers wouldn’t be pumping as much money as they are into social media if it didn’t generate any value. In 2014, 66% of marketers believed that social media was core to their business. 70% of brands were listed as planning to increase their social media spending in 2015.

Are these brands that fall within the 70% doing the right thing? Do marketers actually reach consumers to an extent in which they allow the consumers to synthesize the information they’re providing into a knowledgeable decision to become part of a brand?

There are many skeptics to social media marketing. Since social media can be a large part of an experiential marketing campaign, we have to look at the facts and analyze if social media is actually an asset to a campaign.

In a 2014 article, stated that the organic reach of social media is pretty close to zero. They stated that a tweet’s lifespan is roughly 18 minutes and said that a Facebook post has an organic reach of around 2.71%.

Forbes was actually an advocate for social media usage. The magazine talked about repeat exposure and how reminding consumers of the product can shorten sales cycles. Since it’s believed that it takes about seven exposures to a product before a consumer decides to buy it, social media can be an effective tactic to deliver repeated exposure through re-tweets and constant sharing.

Experiential marketing campaigns can rely heavily on social media since a lot of the “experiences” generated are those of social media users living vicariously through the lucky participants that actually got the chance to have a great experience at the event and share it online. Since there are oftentimes thousands of social media posts per event, there is consequently repeated exposure to consumers, making it an impactful tactic.

Some skeptics of social media still believe that direct e-mail marketing is more effective than social media platforms. It is estimated that by 2016, about 4.3 million people will have email accounts. Chances are that 100% of the people receive the emails you send – but they may not open it.

With around 84% of emails being marked as spam, it is hard for consumers to want to open every single email. The subject line is extremely important, and according to Salesforce, 64% of people open an e-mail based on the subject line.

A brand having previous exposure to the consumer through social media can be a plus when it comes to e-mail marketing. Why separate the two instead of using the two tactics in conjunction? Experiential marketing campaigns hinge on gaining leads from events, so gaining an e-mail address is also a large goal of a campaign.

By generating interest on social media (which creates authority, influence, and drives traffic to a brand’s website) and using email marketing as a complement to already exposed consumers, a brand can increase its chances of converting their leads into consumers.

A successful experiential marketing campaign can hop over the negative hurdles of social media if done correctly. Instead of directly selling a brand to the social media followers that simply want to catch up on what their colleagues are doing, brands are engulfing them in their colleagues’ experiences and consequently entice them to gain information on the brand’s product on their own. These future consumers can then create value for both themselves and the brand by making a knowledgeable decision of becoming a part of the brand.