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Stepping up in social media: trust and participation are the new imperatives

Stefi RucciFederico MarchisioFor marketers the greatest fascination with digital and social engagement is their ability to be tracked and ‘measured’. But let’s be clear on what digital and social can actually deliver.

The engagement through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest is tangible. Companies and brands can finally work out communication’s ROI: traditionally we have interpreted a click and a ‘like’ as expressions of interest and approval and we have gone as far as considering ‘sharing’ as an endorsement. However, with attention spans plummeting, these actions are often becoming mindless behaviours – the spreading of fake health news is a dangerous sign of this trend. How can we help people go beyond the headline and engage with a message on a more personal level so that it might form part of a behavioural change journey?

There is another dimension where bespoke digital platforms and social media can deliver not simply measurable engagement but the development of a deeper and more productive connection with your target audience. Messaging platforms such as Messenger and WhatsApp – the so-called dark social – allow personal communications that simulate the one-to-one consultation desperately sought by patients; online communities enable knowledge sharing and co-creation. The era of social media as a megaphone is over; true engagement is about participation and the time, data and ideas that your audience is willing to share with you.

So, how do health brands carve a legitimate place and role for themselves in this space? And what are the rules of engagement? Trust is the name of the game: in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and with  GDPR coming into force in May, we can expect – and hope – that people will be much more vigilant about which companies they interact with and what
kind of data they share. Big health brands will have an advantage, while lesser-known companies will need to build  a network of partners to boost  their reputation. For the same reasons, patients are likely to become more aware of the value of their data, knowledge and ideas. They will seek rewards for participation, and the social media experiences that health brands will launch will need to give more significant value, in  the form of information,  support and long-term benefits, to get meaningful engagement.

Stefi Rucci is joint managing director and Federico Marchisio is senior digital media manager, both at Say Communications

In association with

Say

6th June 2018

From: Marketing

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