ROI and a dodgy social media diagram

recency picI drew this diagram for a client today when we were discussing how building a community through social media could be a more cost effective approach than their existing event / campaign led approach to communications.

The basic premise being that a community (if managed properly) provides continuous access to a continually growing group of people who are interested in, and engaged with, your brand.  This effectively reduces the peak in investment that goes along with a traditional campaign approach, meaning you don’t have to start from scratch  to build an audience.   Not only that, but seeking out and encouraging advocates within these communities further boosts the investment made as they begin to spread your message and do your job for you!

This diagram then reminded me of one of the first things i learnt many years ago as a grad in a media agency – cumulative reach and frequency. The upshot of this theory for planners in advertising and media alike, was the importance of aligning and timing brand messages so you continually build your brand story.

I wonder how social media and branded communities fit into this traditional theory? Is it just another string to our communication bow to work in harmony with everything else? Or does social media, and more specifically branded communities, offer the ultimate remedy for the cumulative media planning challenge?

Interesting to hear what others think.    Aside from that theoretical side point, I think the diagram simply demonstrates that building communities is a more cost effective approach to communications.   The investment may be hard to justify up front but the ROI over a longer period of time is worth it.

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