WHAT is Social Media Marketing Good For Anyway? Part One

SESWhether you embrace it or not, social media is here to stay and affects your brand. Social media marketing must be part of your overall marketing effort. Ignore the blogosphere at your peril.

Moderator Pauline Ores, SES Advisory Board and Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media Engagement, General Business, IBM, began the seminar by stating that the Social Media Track was new to Search Engine Strategies conferences. She introduced the powerhouse panel:

  • Conn Fishburn, Director of Social Media Strategy, Yahoo! Inc.
  • Don Steele, Director of Digital Marketing, Comedy Central
  • Chris Winfield, President, 10e20, LLC
  • Jory Des Jardins, Co-Founder & President of Strategic Alliances, BlogHer
  • Chris Beland, Partner, Director, Interactive Marketing & Social Media Practice, Ogilvy Worldwide

NOTE: Due to massive awesome content, this seminar is split across two posts (link provided at end to part two).

Conn Fishburn began by providing an overview of social media.The New NowThere are now 800 BILLION + people online monthly. If the web were a country it would be the third biggest nation in the world. Because of the immediacy of the web, there are more social engagements on a daily basis.Fifteen years ago, we looked at the web as a “new thing.” But there is now a whole generation who have never known the world without the web. To them, it’s not “new,” it just IS. The network economy is a culture.

Social media/the web is NOT a better version of print or TV. It doesn’t behave like other media. Social media is first and foremost about people. The “killer app” of the web is other people. You need people to connect.

What is future of marketing? What will it look like in 5 years?

We’ve moved from mass media broadcasting (one pushed to the many) to the “we” media (sharing and interactivity).

Marketing today is creating social dialogue. Brands and companies are part of the cultural fabric.

What is social media?

  • media made by and for users in communities (posts, reviews, videos, etc.)
  • a business model in which our customers are our suppliers (digg ranks news stories)
  • customers participate in supply chain
  • an advertising system in which people articulate their interests nad passions and share marketing mesages wth each other (Facebook status shows you what groups your friends join)
  • new approach to solving hard problems in networked information systems (Library of Congress is working with Flickr users to tag Library of Congress photos)
  • platforms, systems and apps that connect media, technology and peopole together into a process and value-creation network

The myth of “Influencers”

The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell talks about the concept of the “influencer,” a magical being (only 15% of the population) whose favor causes ideas/products/concepts to catch fire. Duncan Watts is a Tipping-point skeptic (and Yahoo! research scientist) who believes there’s no difference between an “influencer” and a regular person when it comes to knowing whether something will generate buzz. The factor he says is the condition of the network.
How to play nicely in social space

  • holistic approach: must be part of all marketing efforts
  • FIRST: listen to what they’re already saying about you and your brand
  • become part of a story: the dove campaign tapped into cultural truth about women and beauty
  • always bring some wine: act like you’re coming to a dinner party. Don’t just appear in social space and demand things. You must also cooperate and provide value.
  • be good to your mother: you can no longer trick consumers into buying your stuff. They are too savvy for you.
  • Don’t forget! Social media is here to stay!

Goodies to check out!!

  • MOMA exhibition: Design and the Elastic Mind – has a Digg arc visualization see online exhibition
  • Ogilvy & Mather has created a glossary of social media terms that is supposed to be on the SES site but since SES site has no search capabilities (!!!) I can’t find it right now. Will post link soon.

Chris Beland of Ogilvy & Mather was next up to speak about Web 2.0 and social media.Why is social media important? The brand is no longer the authority on what is right and good. 70% of people visit a search engine FIRST when making a buying decision. People still look to experts, but they validate with other sources. Peer to peer and user-generated content are the number one sources for trusted information. This includes things like recommendations, reviews (positive and negative), and the number of downloads or clicks.JD powers did a survey on how advertisers are getting the word out to customers in media, and following the top four (e-mail, display ads, paid keyword search and branded sponsorship) are “emerging vehicles,” all of which are considered “mainstream” by user audiences:

  • blogs
  • online games
  • social networks
  • virtual worlds
  • widgets and wikis

Among sites using this technology (reviews, comments on experience, etc.), site traffic and conversion rates are going up!

Today’s plan for an integrated marketing campaign

  • current
  • direct mail/media
  • e-mail
  • landing page design
  • content syndication: white paper, video

Tomorrow’s plan with social marketing

  • listening post (start listening to users, search content syndication)
  • influencer engagement
  • advocacy activation
  • direct mail/media
  • e-mail
  • dynamic landing page
  • earned media
  • other emerging channels
  • listening post review

Ways to use social media marketing for your brand

  • Listen to your customer: not just passively (reading blog discussions, forums, word on the street, etc.) but also actively listening and engaging in the discussion in a transparent manner.

Example: Starwood Hotels is a client, and they have a person who frequents the flyertalk forums and talks to customers about their experiences in Starwood hotels. He’s online as starwoodlurker and he’s been very well received!

  • Find passionate users and give them a platform to evangelize: Once you are established in communities relevant to your brand, you should be able to identify passionate users who could provide good word of mouth for you. Don’t be afraid to give them content/products/information for review. For example, the producers of Lost showed the program to teenagers in their demographic months before the program was to air, and let them blog the hell out of it!

Example: Cisco started their “human network” campaign by engaging 14 influential bloggers and asked them to help define the “human network.” This generated a great deal of buzz and soon Cisco dominated in organic search rankings. Someone even put up a wikipedia entry on it (soon got removed for being too markety).

  • Use existing user-generated content on your brand’s website: there are thousands of users who evangelize products in their spare time, writing reviews, making videos or podcasts.

Example: Someone needs a new cell phone. They pick a model from Verizon, and do their due diligence Googling to find information on the phone model. They don’t find much personal information so they visit Technorati. Luck! Found someone that had posted a video review of the desired phone. Verizon could have leveraged that content on their website to help customer make buying decisions faster.

Jump to Part 2…

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