There are 3 broad categories of marketing: Paid Advertising. PR. And Referrals.
Social media marketing can and should occupy all 3 categories.
Companies have embraced the benefits of social media, buzz marketing, and social collaboration. But most, including big brands, still do not know how to implement it.
Having been involved with social marketing before the terms ‘web 2.0′ or ‘user generated content’ were coined, I can share my perspectives on how to approach social media marketing effectively and efficiently.
First, recognise that social media can be seen as synonymous with online public relations.
Your PR firm may not like that. And nor may your digital or brand agency. But strip away the fads, and it’s easy to recognise that any advertising, marketing, or promotion is geared to just a few desired outcomes:
- Creation of brand preference (pre purchase)
- Trigger a direct sale (purchase)
- Maintain brand loyalty (post purchase)
Public Relations is about creating that bonding in your market. And social media is simply a modern day version of that.
And ironically, with the rise of social media, we are seeing a return of PR journalist relationships becoming personal 1:1 relationships. Mass syndication is fine. But for optimal PR coverage online, we need personal ties with key people (centres of influence) in our industry or market.
Journalists don’t want to be spoon fed a cut-n-dry press release, and consumers themselves will readily pick up news releases if they are interesting, valuable, easy to read. I.e. Make them read like compelling stories, and fill them with detail from which the consumer journalist can pick and choose what they syndicate, distribute, plagiarise or share. (This has given rise to the social media news release.)
For simple and free press release syndication, try PR Log.
Publish your papers and presentation files on sites like:
In the social media world people associate with personal brands more than with company brands.
“Over 50 percent of consumers perceive companies that provide communication features such as real-time dialog as progressive, advanced, and eager to please the customer.”
People interacting with people on a personal level is what the social web is all about.
And that is the essence of ‘social media marketing’.
People don’t interact with brands per se. They interact with people, which may help create brand preference. But never put the brand forward as the important part of any social media effort. Just as Pepsi found recently, pushing brands through social media can be very costly.
The holy grail of marketing is to create a highly leveraged effect that spreads a positive message about your service far and wide, for free!
Hotmail was one of the first companies to grow so quickly online through viral marketing. They restricted access to Hotmail email accounts and allowed members to introduce 10 of their friends. That campaign grew hotmail like wild fire.
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia not only has top search engine rankings for more phrases than I care to fathom, but has been created purely from social collaboration of visitors contributing information and creating pages (user generated content).
One model of social media marketing recognises 6 types of ‘web 2.0 website’:
- Media Sharing – YouTube, StimTV, Podcasting, etc.
- Social Bookmarking – Delicious, Diigo, etc.
- Citizen Media – Blogs, Tag Engines, RSS Feeds, News sites like www.nowpublic.com.
- Collaborative Directories – Wikipedia, Prefound, Zimbio, etc.
- Collaborative Harvesters – Digg, Netscape, Reddit, Popurls, etc.
- Social Networking – Facebook, MySpace, Squidoo, Twitter, etc.
But how can you take advantages of social media marketing, making sure you stay ahead of the trends, keep high brand visibility, whilst not throwing money at the wind?
A good place to start is with…
“Our blog should be the base of operations, but we should have outposts in many of these places and become active participants. It’s just how things are done these days.”
Twitter is an example of micro-blogging. Short syndicated messages.
Participate in ‘the conversation’ in your market by finding topical, note worthy, fun, interesting, things on sites such as http://stufftotweet.com. Use http://alltop.com for current market research, and again use such research to build your tweet presence. I use the twitter client TweetDeck for all my Tweeting needs.
See the Tracking section for ideas on how to monitor the performance of social media marketing.
Contact me with your requirements or interest.
Continue at the main Conversion page.