Focus With Your Social Media Marketing
Social media has been broadly embraced by the public for several reasons. But two stand out in my mind, as I relayed to attendees of the NEMOA Fall Conference in Mashantucket, Conn., Sept. 16-18, during my session, "Social Media Marketing — Separating Hype from Reality."
The first is social media gives a voice to the public. Blogs, microblogs (e.g., Twitter), discussion forums, photo sharing, etc., all give consumers the ability to publish content. While that may seem trivial, the late ’90s internet offered little of this — it was dominated by big brands and static pages. Today, if consumers feel strongly about a topic or have expertise in certain subject areas, it's a trivial process to publish that in blogs, among other places.
The second reason for consumers to fall in love with social media is “friends.” The ability to easily publish has created so much content that we need to be able to filter that content by “people we know.” Both Facebook and Twitter are built on this concept. In the case of Facebook, you're presented with a stream of news and photos shared by friends. With Twitter, the terms are “following” and “followers.” You can argue the trivial nature of the content, but you get to pick who your friends are.
Direct marketers need to exploit the reasons for the successes of these companies. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have the attention of consumers. Like direct mail, and even email, these are ideal venues for interruptive marketing. The tactics for doing this are simple: Participate in these social media networks, and allow your customers to “friend” or “follow” you.
Countless brands are setting up Facebook fan pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, etc. Just as people wear T-shirts from their favorite brands, consumers are “friending” and “following” their favorite brands. The value to marketers is their content is now presented to their friends. But be mindful not to focus purely on selling or you'll quickly be “unfriended.”