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Social Marketing – Getting Started

By Keith Wiser, 5th Dimension 

Conference, and other, presentations were often known as death by Power Point. We have now moved on to a new way of inflicting morbidity … stats about the net and social media. That said I thought it might be useful to contextualise this discussion with just a smattering of interesting developments in the digital space :
•There are 4.8 billion mobile users but only 4.2 billion people have a toothbrush.
•Social media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web.
•In the UK there are twice as many smartphone users as there are cigarette smokers.
•1 in 5 couples overall and 3 in 5 gay couples meet online.
•Teenagers today are actually “chatting” to their grandparents … this is the really freaky one !

Some of the above are good things and others not so good. But love it or hate it, for the time being, social media is here to stay. And marketers will ignore these channel opportunities at their peril. Failing to participate in social media is not an option because a whole bunch of people OUT THERE are already talking about you.

There are numerous reasons why marketers have to start deploying social media strategies :
•Everyone else is doing it
•Increase trafficsubscribers … boost web traffic
•Build newdifferent relationships with the brand
•Enhance the personality behind the brand
•Acquire qualified leads … sell more
•Reduce marketing costs
•Get rich data
•Win trust by connecting at a deeper level
•Gen Y does not trust ‘paid for content’
•Bypass the middleman … connect directly with the consumer
•It’s the next big wave – it’s here to stay

But, to my way of thinking, the single most compelling reason is that today we are looking for the self-directed buyer. Companies now have to focus on being FOUND. Why is that? We have gone from being information poor to information rich. We created five exabtyes (5 billion gigabytes) of information between the dawn of civilisation and 2003 – we now create that every two days. Buyers are learning to switch off what they don’t want to hear and to look for what they do want to know. Hence the term, the self-directed buyer.

Of course, while many of us are attempting to come to grips with Level 1 (i.e. social media) there are bigger changes happening as we speak. What we are seeing is the following migration :

•Social Media
The democratisation of information, transforming people from content consumers into content creators.
•Social Marketing
The application of marketing knowledge, concepts and techniques to economic ends. It’s a strategic and methodical process to establish a company’s reputation, influence and brand reputation.
•Social Commerce
Executing transactions inside social networks.

Most marketer’s thinking seems to revolve around what we call ‘eavesdropping’ (i.e. listening to conversations that are already happening and hopefully responding accordingly). At best this is a hit-and-miss approach and it is certainly only one dimension of a truly integrated digital strategy. Our own work at Inter-Net, our specialist digital agency in the group, addresses all the following :

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