Brands that wish to take advantage of social media to improve their advertising and marketing projects must attempt to motivate customers to get involved, as without their engagement the outlay will be pointless, according to an expert.
Gabrielle Lovering, head of digital at Cohn and Wolfe, pointed out that the emergence of the internet has fundamentally changed the relationship between businesses and their customers.
Where previously adverts could simply act upon consumers, they now need to connect with them on a different level and often encourage them to partake in some kind of activity, she argued in a PR Week blog.
This means businesses "are encouraging people to interact with conversations and engage via rich media content in a way that increasingly extends into a new and nebulous brand world", she explained.
Nevertheless, this brave new world is driven by the same commercial imperatives, meaning marketers need to ensure they gain tangible results and do not simply parrot buzzwords such as engagement in a hope it will scare the finance director off.
Ultimately, well-calibrated social channels allow firms to find out more about their target audience and thus connect with them better, declared Ms Lovering.
"As an industry, we are beginning to understand much more about the behavioural characteristics that drive motivation and the most forward-looking brands are already reaping the benefits," she suggested.
For instance, the reward concept is a key motivator - offering customers the chance to win a prize of some kind tends to drive up response rates for ads that demand them.
This has been a crucial part of advertising since the days when you could cut out coupons from newspapers, but social media offers a new way of engaging with this concept, explained the Cohn and Wolfe chief.
With mcommerce and ecommerce on the up, it seems obvious that marketers will need to ensure they can engage users with digital content in order to attract a new generation of customers.