In the last blog post I talked about the importance of social business. Having a strong online presence can greatly effect a company’s success. But this success can only be achieved if the social business is used to its fullest potential. It literally takes an entire team to build a community of social business.
The traditional form of marketing involved creating a message and pushing it through traditional channels for the receiver to process. Marketing was a long process and campaigns took months to create and execute. As with everything in the new world of social business, speed has been increased. The marketing departments of companies were some of the first users of social media for business purposes. Companies started blogs, and spent time exploring the benefits of Myspace. Today, most companies have blogs, Twitter,Facebook, YouTube Channels and numerous other sites.
Social media marketing is a new form of marketing that allows the business to reach people at all hours of the day through the internet.The marketers for the company aren’t just the people the company employes, its biggest marketing force are now its customers. Social business marketing can sustain multiple marketing campaigns at the same time, tailored to a specific audience. A huge benefit of this new type of marketing is that it can gather feedback about the campaign with speed and gauge the performance of the campaign accurately. It is flexible enough to allow for change when needed.
A university of Massachusetts study conducted in 2010 reported that most organizations reported a successful experience with social media marketing. Another survey by McKinsey and Company found that 63% of businesses reported that social media has improved their marketing effectiveness. When you think about it we spend so much of our day using social media. Social media has given businesses new tools for organization, management and design. It is natural that this new medium should be used for marketing. This new form of marketing is helping companies reach new markets and further their own capabilities.
But, how should companies use social media as a marketing tool?
Participation is the most important aspect of social media marketing. Social media has completely changed the game of marketing because it is no longer a one way flow of information. Social media has made it possible to get instant feedback and instant responses. But, the business itself needs to be an active participant in social media for it to be effective. According to Social Business by Design “social business effects need to start by targeting particular audiences and draw in varied participants who can take their conversation in a constructive direction.”
Companies no longer have complete control over their marketing campaigns, in fact their costumers do. Because of this, brands need to be prepared to deal with the conversation moving in any direction, including a negative one. They need to take this feedback and use it to further engage the participant. Turning negative feedback into a positive is one of the most important tools a social business manger can master. Having this ability allows them to combat negative publicity at the core and openly respond to it and use the opportunity to positively advertise for their company.
Purely using Facebook or Twitter to send out a status every now and then is not enough to build an online campaign. The company needs to engage with it’s costumers and peers online. Companies need to seek out suitable social media sites to use (blogs, special interest sites, social networks). They need to figure out where their target audience is online, what they are doing, and what their audience want to be doing. They need to build interactive websites with rich social capabilities, interactive media and videos. After they have identified this they need to decide which type of engagement they should employ (Local Social Media, External Social Media, Integrated Social Media, Unified Social Media, Search Engine Marketing).
1.Local Social Media refers to companies just engaging on media that they have control over. This can be their own blogs or other online sites that they have created.
2.External Social Media refers to using the large global social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube) to interact with people.
3.Integrated Social Media is a multichannel effort that encompasses both local and external channels. An example of this is a company building a game on Facebook.
4.Unified Social Media is the future of social business. It is a completely integrated social media.
5.Search Engine Marketing is when information is optimized to increase hits to a website in order to increase sales, image, or branding.
In conclusion, Social media is, thus far, mainly useful as an engaging marketing strategy, not a push strategy. As companies use of social media matures the marketing staregties will evolve. But even today, any company that wants to be successful needs to employe, at least at some level, a social media campaign.