November 7th, 2010
With over 83% of online users being involved in some form of social media, it should come as no surprise that marketers are flocking to the social media sites themselves.
Worldwide over 47% of marketers are making use of social media to increase their business. In North America the number of marketers using social media jumps to 58%. But while they are to be commended for having a good eye for market trends and being willing to identify untapped customer potential, there are a number of problems that come with the territory.
The Obstacles of Advertising on Social Media
Social media is media that is designed to be distributed through social interaction. It can take on many different forms; Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs and microblogging as well as wikis, podcasts, posted video and other relevant venues. But while social media is good at what it does, what it wasn’t designed for was to be a productive host for marketers who are looking to improve their customer relationships.
It doesn’t make any difference if is a Toronto SEO Company or from anywhere else, SEO and Internet Marketing firms are investing time and resources into Social Media. In fact, 48% of respondents to a recent Unica survey of markets said that their social media marketing efforts are totally paying off.
Some of the main obstacles include the failure to engage individual customers on a one-on-one basis, continued reliance on mass-marketing techniques that are not relevant to today’s content-sharing culture, hit-or-miss tactical campaigns, lack of measurement to determine the results of attempted marketing and the poor integration of marketing campaigns regardless of whether they are conducted through social media or traditional marketing channels.
As you can see, perhaps one of the most obvious shortfalls is the inability to integrate the concept of social media, the openness and flexibility of it, into the decision-making processes already in place in most corporations.
If companies can work through their resistance to this integration of the “tried and true” and the “up and coming.” There are, however, some things that can be done to help expedite this integration.
How to Integrate Social Media into the Marketing Culture
First and foremost, you need flexibility. Marketing through social media cannot be determined by hard and fast growth plans and flow charts. What is “hot” and “happening” today could be old news tomorrow. From MySpace to Friend to Facebook, Twitter, Grouper and Foresquare, the site of the day can change seemingly overnight.
The key is not to focus on the social media that is being dealt with, but the customers you are trying to reach. A consistent way to understand and reach your customers is imperative. Once you have a good grasp of your market, it doesn’t matter which channel is currently popular, you will be able to adapt it to your needs.
In order to be able to come to an understanding of your customer’s needs and wants you need to ensure, firstly, that methods for tracking customer interactions and segments (regardless of the social media being used) be firmly in place.
Secondly, that you have methods by which you can identify the most effective channels for marketing so that you will be able to spend your marketing dollars more effectively. And finally, you need to put systems in place that will coordinate your marketing efforts across all your marketing channels; traditional and social media.
Another thing to remember when integrating social media is to make sure you treat social media in its place; as one channel inside of your overall interactive marketing plan. If you focus solely on social media without having the proper planning infrastructure in place, without the proper measurements, you won’t be able to track social media’s effectiveness on your overall marketing campaign.
A part of the effectiveness of treating social media as one part of the overall marketing structure comes with proper planning; improving customer awareness by creating profiles on individual customer behaviors; likes, dislikes, interests and brand disposition and be able to compare them to traditional marketing strategies. It is also important to centralize decision making based on customer responses as well as demographic and social data.
Finally, one of the most important things to keep in mind when integrating social media is to understand that smarter strategies need smarter solutions. Ad hoc tactics just don’t work with the integration of social media, you need to consider implementing interactive marketing strategies beginning with the willingness to draw from multiple forms of social media; Twitter, Facebook, Ad clickthroughs, blog links, direct mail, email etc.
Use them all!
Get innovative with your measuring tools; deploy cookies and instrument widgets and get friendly with tracking codes that measure all your customer’s interactions, those codes and cookies and widgets are your friends, they will help you in establishing both aggregate and individual social analytics that can help you identify potential targets for future marketing opportunities.
By putting all of these strategies to use you will be able to learn everything possible to learn about your target audience and be able to adapt your marketing strategies, particularly your future social media strategies to each available opportunity as it arises and be able to reach the individual with a broad range of techniques, from personalized messages to custom widgets that respond to their ad tracking and be able to provide seamless closed loop campaigns that are based on their recent activities and recorded preferences.
Entry Filed under: Social Media