Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First Thing, Make Sure Your Team Knows What 'Social Media' Means

CM Comment: Everywhere we hear the buzz about 'social media' yet it often seems that everyone's definition is different. This article suggests some things to consider as you seek to get your marketing team aligned.

March 11, 2009: summarized from vator.tv -- Ready to dip your toes into the expanding pool of social media applications? The space is moving fast, and there are a number of elements to consider.

Make sure you and your team fully understands what social media means. Don't assume you already know everything. I summarize social media as digital communities in which individuals shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of audience and author; it provides a platform for interaction, communication and sharing amongst users with common interests.

Consider alternative metrics. While it's specific to the client objective and function of the application, examples include time spent, invites sent, icons installed, views, posts and traffic spikes during partnerships. Again social media isn't like buying banners on massive reach content sites, so each opportunity is unique and, therefore, each buy will be unique.

Don't view social media only as buying Facebook or MySpace -- the two largest social networking properties in the world. Consider that you are buying an audience, not a social network. It doesn't make sense if you buy social media just because it's social media. If that planner was buying moms, for example, he or she could buy advertising around Circle of Moms, the largest community of moms on Facebook with a membership of 2.2 million. Yes, it's built on Facebook, and therefore it has all of the social and engagement components you'd want. However, at the end of the day, your interest still lies with the moms and what you can talk to them about, not the platform they are communicating on.

If you are considering building a social community and you can't answer these questions don't do it: Do I have great content to provide the user base? Do I have media support to drive traffic? Is there a pre-existing community to partner with that is aligned with my marketing goals? Can this campaign live far longer than my banner campaign for flight dates closer to 90-120 days? If I get an engaged user base, what will I say to them and will I re-market to them if they give me info? Will my traffic and app installs be transparent so I know who my audience is?

Test, test, test. If you have considered buying a sponsorship on a popular iPhone application -- go for it! The clients who get in now will be the first movers and gain the most knowledge, not the ones on the sideline. If you get stuck on the sideline watching your competition zoom by, what do you gain? Can you ever discover alternative ad offerings if you don't test?
Ask your sales rep for help. If you are having trouble selling a concept, an idea or the belief that these new social media platforms are the way to go, look to your sales rep for guidance -- they are there to support you, but they can't help if you don't give them access to a client or your boss.

In 2009, social networking sites will exceed even the loftiest of expectations as it relates to user adoption, traffic, and page views. Don't find yourself wondering "what if?" or "I really wish I could have..." Act now!

Full story at: http://tinyurl.com/cqubzh

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