Social Media Marketing is the future of online marketing, is your business engaging in Social Media Marketing ?
Social Media Marketing is the future of online marketing. The already tremendous impact of social media is shifting marketing approaches from the traditional content delivery model to a conversation between brands and consumers. This is changing everything from the way companies speak to current customers to the way products are launched. Everyone has a different version of what the changes mean for the future of marketing, but the consensus is that social media marketing is here, here to stay, and poised for explosive growth.
So how far will these changes reach and what will be the effects? Here are some of my thoughts on how social media marketing will affect 1) Online marketing, 2) blogging, 3) politics, 4)design, and 5) new technology.
Social Media Marketing and Online Marketing
Same thing? Not quite. Social media marketing is based on the social currency of conversation, like an online version of “Word of Mouth (WOM).” Online marketing as a whole includes everything from email marketing to banner ads, as well as social media marketing.
Chris Brogan wrote a great post on July 14 http://www.chrisbrogan.com/bingtweets-fusing-search-and-twitter/#disqus_thread
about how the new BingTweets service could be a better alternative to banner ads:
This is the future of social media marketing- a synthesis rather than choosing between one or the other. With increasingly more targeted ads from big players like Google and Facebook, ads are growing up into the personalized and localized approach. Social media starts with this approach and so is set up for inbound marketing strategies, where consumers seek out products and services. What other people they know and trust (WOM) say on the social media networks they trust is much more important than how clever or big or bright any advertisement on a website is.
Social media marketing is, in the end, the art of getting people to say good things about what you sell or what you do and then making sure that information gets passed around. The beauty of BingTweets is that it combines the real-time search magic of Twitter with the information gathering expertise of a search engine.
Once enough people start talking about something on Twitter it becomes a “trending topic.” Bing then attaches related information and to those topics so you can search for the backstory (always an issue on Twitter) and related information. Brogan says it’s a great alterative to banner ads. Agreed. Beyond that, it pushes social media marketing and WOM to the next level, connecting people through conversation to the room behind the door they are opening.
Right now if you hear about something on a social media network, folks will probably drop in one link, either where they found the information or their favorite link about that topic. Or there is no link and just a conversation. Either way, you see something, get excited and have to go do the rest of the search yourself.
Because marketing is all about getting you from where you are to where the product or service is (or getting the product or service to where you are), combining social media with search makes for powerful social media marketing. Get people talking about something enough and they will find you. It means that conversation is key, not flashiness. You can’t buy relevance anymore. You have to earn it.
This is how social media will affect online marketing. The importance of online reputation and search rankings will only increase, and the need for people who are Influencers and Connectors in the social media networks to be talking/tweeting/posting about what you do will grow along with it.
Social media is about conversation, social media marketing is turning that conversation into action.
Here are some opening thoughts on the other key areas I mentioned:
Social Media Marketing and Blogging
Bloggers and influential blogs are already playing significant roles in how marketers approach customers and potential customers online. What influential bloggers say about a product, or what someone on Twitter links to can have a viral and very real impact on how web surfers view a product, service or company. Blogging has given people the freedom to speak their minds and those minds think not only about issues but about goods and services. Look for social media marketing to try and team up with bloggers, recruit bloggers, and eventually start their own blogs to become influential parts of the conversation.
Social Media Marketing and Politics
You saw it in the United States with Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign and expect that trend to continue. Politics in democracy has long been removed from the town hall style meetings of old, and social media brings back that old idea of one person/ one voice, giving it fresh life. The same way tv changed the game 50 years ago by making politics visual, expect social media to change the ways candidates market themselves by demanding transparency, expecting conversation and enabling instant and pervasive commentary. Imagine candidates commenting on each others’ speeches on Twitter as they happen, or holding debates through a podcast. Only the beginning.
Social Media Marketing and Design
All new design depends on buzz to become influential- and that buzz comes from getting the right people talking about the newest of the new. Social media is the fastest way to create that buzz, so expect social media marketing to play a bigger and bigger role in creating buzz in the formerly ultra-contained world of design. Social media marketing for new design, whether in fashion, art or architecture has the potential to involve the masses in seeing and commenting on what is new as soon as it is new.
Social Media Marketing and New Technology
New technology needs to be useful for people and be a solution to a problem they have. To be viable on the market, new technologies will need to be attractive to advertisers as well to support their existence. From mobile to web to interactive media, all of the new technology will need to support and bind together users with social media capabilities, creating now non-existent opportunities for social media marketing. New technology and new marketing opportunities will force social media marketing to a whole new level of creativity. Additionally, new software development will utilize social media as a way to test beta products, and that will translate into user-generated and free social media marketing, a synthesis of conversation, creation and marketing.
If social media is about conversation, social media marketing is about making action out of that conversation. How do you think social media marketing will change any of these sectors or the sector you work in?