Beyond the Numbers: Interview with Avakon+’s Stavros Kontaktsis
This week, we traveled to Greece to chat with Stavros Kontakstis, Partner and Strategy Director at Avakon+, an innovative social media agency based in Athens. In this installment, Stavros introduces us to the Splinternet and filled us in on the most important considerations for content planning. For more insights into the ever-changing world of social, you can follow Stavros on Twitter.
You can find the complete interview archive here.
How does your organization define social media marketing, and how does it fit into the larger digital marketing picture?
Social media is the corner stone of our entire marketing strategy. Social Media is where everything starts in the digital marketing picture. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn might not stand forever; nevertheless, their influence in the way we interact, consume, learn and even understand our surroundings both physical and digital is here to stay. Whatever we try to do either for us or our clients must meet the one criterion “Is it social ready?”
Based on this new reality social media is the foundation that supports our whole marketing ecosystem, both digital and traditional, while explicitly communicating the brand values and scope of our organization.
How have you seen social media greatly impact your business?
Avakon+ is a Digital agency that started in 2009 in order to build on the revolution that social media created in all aspects of our everyday lives. So Social Media is the core of our corporate culture. The way we are structured, the way we implement things is purely social. We encourage the use of social media and we go to them to make our work better and influence ourselves in order to become better.
When is social media data most critical to your efforts: During the planning process; while you’re executing a campaign, so you can change course or allocate more resources; or afterwards, to measure your success?
All the time. There isn’t a time on a social media cycle that you don’t need the data or you need it more. Data is used to predict, plan, optimize, evaluate and then again use the data in order to plan the next one. So data must be around all the time. If you don’t have access to data you cannot go forward in my opinion.
What’s more valuable, competitive intelligence on brands within your industry, or being able to look at the efforts from brands in other verticals?
For my clients obviously measuring against your industry and keeping an eye open on what is going on is the really important one. But for me the overall look is more insightful. You can dissect strategies, understand what works for who and how, and you can introduce your findings to your own strategies, or make them a part of your 5% testing process, to see how they will measure for you.
Social media channels are increasingly moving to where paid content is promoted more than organic content. How do you feel about this, and how has it affected your social strategy?
Paying your way for views is the easy way. We’ve all done it and let’s be honest still the eyeballs you get for your money on social media is much cheaper than traditional media. In our case we try to up our game and enhance the quality of the content we produce to go beyond the paid model.
The idea behind social media for brands is to create compelling content that people will want to interact with. If you pay for them to just see it and hence don’t put in the work because you don’t understand the value behind the really great content creation and delivery, you might as well drop your whole social media strategy and just buy views.
Use money smart to boost really great content that will help you become more notable and find ways to be relevant and valuable to your peers. This social media strategy rarely fails and isn’t affected by changes in algorithms. By using these strategies we have seen our Facebook reach going beyond 20% on average for clients with more than 200.000 fans and also we averaged more than 2.5% engagement on an auto brand for 10 straight months with purely organic build up.
What do you see as the single most disruptive force coming to the world of social media marketing?
I think the most disruptive force is the way people interact in the physical world using digital devices. What some people refer to as splinternet. These interactions already have social characteristics (e.g. foursquare check-ins) and their impact to social media will be huge.
Imagine having actionable social interactions with me in a coffee shop sipping frapuccino or at the beach searching for where we are going for cocktails later. These kind of social media interactions are what is coming and they will take the whole consumer and branding experience to the next level since the products we use will become extensions of our social personas.
What are the social media metrics you don’t have access to today but would like to be able to leverage in the future?
There isn’t something we don’t have access to, besides maybe what our competitors are spending on Facebook or Google ads. The real issue is how we have access to the data and what we can make of it.
That’s where Unmetric is valuable to us. It creates actionable insights for us using these data and helps our peers take everything to the next step. So it isn’t a matter of data for us it is a matter of actionable insights derived from the data. So what we want in the future is more real time actionable insights.