Don’t let social media spoil your brand, says BBC StoryWorks boss

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 10 July 2019

The problems plaguing social media are making a strong case for the return to traditional platforms when it comes to brand building, says Jelena Li, head of BBC StoryWorks.

Speaking to AdNews, Li who heads up BBC’s content marketing arm in Australia and New Zealand, says on-going issues with Facebook and Google, such as poor brand safety and harmful content, could be impacting brands that use them to reach consumers.

This is why she’s has seen the conversation shift over the past year from the quality of a brand’s content to the quality of the platform it chooses to advertise on.

“Quality of content is one thing but if you’re not pushing out that content on the right platform then it can’t really shine, it can’t really unleash its full potential,” Li says.

“We know that generally the individual's trust in social media is declining and that people are actually increasingly returning to traditional media outlets for their news and their content consumption. Brands must recognise that and act accordingly.”

According to the BBC’s own research 40% of Australians believe that a brand is either positively or negatively impacted by the platform it appears on.

Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer also reflects the low trust social media garners compared to traditional media. It reported that social media is the least trusted source of news and information, with 50% of people trusting news they found on social media, compared to 66% on traditional media and 68% on search. However, it did show a slight uptick in people’s overall trust in social media, at 43%, after three consecutive years of decline.

Li says this means producing high-quality content isn’t enough for successful content marketing.

Recently Facebook and Google, owner of YouTube, have been rocked by the live streaming of the Christchurch terrorist attack. The move sparked outrage from advertisers around the globe and triggered Australia’s new social media laws.

Despite this, she thinks that many marketers still think too short-term because of the cost-effectiveness of social media’s reach and believe it’s an effective platform to advertise on.

“I recently went to a content marketing conference and it was so interesting to see marketers talk about how effective social media is in terms of building out their audiences and pushing out all that great content they're creating," she says.

“It’s fantastic but no one seemed to recognise that effective content marketing is so much more than just pushing out a great piece of content to someone and getting a click or view.

“Content marketing has the potential to really change brand perception, to build brand equity and I don't think that a lot of brands really think about whether social media is the best place to do that.”

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