Blogs. Feeds. Facebook. MySpace. LinkedIn. YouTube. Flickr. Twitter. Delicious. StumbleUpon. Digg. They’re everywhere, but people have doubts about their validity in a marketing world. Last night at Third Tuesday, Mhairi (va-ri) Petrovic from out-smarts led a great discussion on social media acceptance amongst traditional marketers. I’m going to jump off her talking points for my own adaptation of eight major objections, and how to handle them.
There appears to be a lot of misconception about what social media is. From Mhairi’s experience, she mentioned clients who thought having a website was participating in social media. While some clients may already be in social media, a tour of what’s out there (and what each medium can offer) might prove otherwise.
It’s true – Facebook was made for college students, but it has since grown up, with over 7% of its user base aged between 25-34 and 23% aged 35 and older. Mind you, Facebook isn’t the only medium. LinkedIn is a social media platform aimed specifically at professionals. Microbloggers aren’t so young either, looking at the majority of the posters in this thread. It should be said that not every network will work for your campaign. Some networks are definitely geared younger, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find your audience there or in another social media space.
Fads must live a really long time these days. Since the earlier days of the internet, people have been sharing their thoughts and asking others to participate. The concept of social media isn’t anything new. While websites like Friendster may have faded, others sprung up to take its place. The location may die, but the concept is still extremely compelling to audiences. Facebook may fade, but the communities and relationships built within won’t; they’ll find another way to talk and share.
By definition of a brand – the words, images, experience and emotions people associate with an entity – you relinquish control as soon as someone has contact with you. Your brand is already outside you; you can manage it, but you never control it. Social media lets you listen to what’s being said so you can guide that conversation to a desirable outcome.
If you don’t share, someone else will. With all the social media outlets out there, as soon as anything slips, it spreads. By participating, you can at least play on your turf. It’s fantastic for building trust as well. Who would you rather hear bad news from: the person who messed up, or the person who ratted them out? Playing in the social media space and taking part of the conversation lets you be responsible and a vanguard in your industry.
Social media is a very serious game. Microsoft sees it. (In fact, if you look for them on Facebook, you’ll find they have an entire page dedicated to their student offerings.) The conversation may not be as formalized as in traditional forums, but you have to speak the language that your customers can understand.
Everyone has this excuse, but really, it’s like saying you don’t have time to send the ad out to the paper. If you can forego the traffic, then this may very well be valid for you. If you can’t, it’s no different than any other promotion stream: you need to talk to your customers.
Funny thing about social media is that it can show better metrics than traditional mediums. Analytic suites make it entirely possible to see where people are coming from, how long they’re communicating with you, how they found you, what they’ve said about you, which ones of them buy, and how many of them stay loyal. In addition, social media buys and campaigns are often much cheaper than traditional formats because of the lack of overhead. Give a campaign a whirl, and you may be very surprised at a welcome spike in return on investment.
Convinced on social media? Still have questions? Give us a shout and we’ll gladly explore some social media options with you to build your brand and boost your ROI.