SO, LO or MO: what’s your focus for 2013?

I won’t be the first social media marketer whose eyes made a bee-line for ‘Return on Involvement’ in Mashable’s 2013 buzzword bible.

Return on involvement – A brand that “gets involved with their community will garner better return on their investment by getting involved hosting fundraisers, partnering with schools and giving the local residents a gathering spot.”

Yet another indication of a localised shift in the ever expanding age of global domination, in spite of social behemoth, Facebook’s inclination to drive brands towards total page amalgamation.

Almost a year ago to the day Saatchi CEO, Kevin Roberts, addressed the MIDEM conference with a speech declaring marketing to be dead. Heralding instead an age where brands would replace Investment with Involvement, inspire people to join their movements and interact with rather than intrude on their consumer’s lives.

This shift sits perfectly with localised social media. Don’t try to be the out-of-town American mall, selling all things to everyone – become the village greengrocer, serve your locals, tell their story.

The question is of course, does it work?

The answer is yes if you want to be relevant and talk to your customers in their own languages about the things that actually matter to them. Yes if you want your fans to have a common ground and a reason to talk to one another. Yes if you want to keep your engagement – i.e. your Edge Rank – higher.

The proof is, as they say, in the pudding. In January 2012 Socialbakers analysed two global brands, Xbox and BMW, taking a look at the engagement across both their global and localised Facebook offerings. Both indicated significantly higher engagement averaging across their local rather than global brands.

The same analysis a year later sees a similar landslide win for Xbox’s local pages. BMW indicates a fairly even level of engagement across its global and local pages when averaged.

*Average engagement over the past 30 days recorded in January 2013 by the Conversocial Profiler. Xbox local and BMW local combine the five largest local Facebook communities per brand, taking the sum of their followers and the average across their engagement

BMW clearly has a higher engagement level on both counts. Perhaps an indication that brands with such recognisable messaging, personality and tone of voice can cut through to customers universally. However, for the German looking for mountain road durability or the American looking for news from the auto shows, there’s a clear place for Facebook locality.

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