Remembering the Many Opportunities of Social Media –not just the Impacts of Advertising

Social Media impacts every aspect of our cultures, from business, politics, journalism, media, and advertising. Within just the business realm, it impacts research, marketing, support, product development and employees within the firewall. Despite the vast impacts of this shift “power has shifted from large organizations to individual participants” as humans connect with other humans, we often forget to see the larger picture.

Aaron Wall is someone I respect, he is certainly a domain expert in search marketing, in his recent post The Inconvienent Truth About Social Media Marketing, he gives a perspective –that’s limited from a search marketers perspective –is bearish on social media marketing. Several people asked me to blog my responses, so here it is:

[Social media marketing has it's challenges, yet success should not be measured on 'search marketing' alone]

Social media has many problems on it’s own (and I’ll frequently point them out) but we should remember that while search monetization is a dominant form in our industry, it’s not the only way websites are monetizes, in fact the complete list is here of the many forms of web marketing.

We’re seeing many more cases where marketers don’t want to monetize directly with ads, but would rather be part of a community of dialog with customers, so they can listen to the marketplace and learn. Also, we’re seeing examples where companies want the message about a product to spread (but not from their own mouth) but from word of mouth marketing. Companies like Dell want to build next-generation products using tools like IdeaStorm –where the customers define the product specs –in order to build better.

In each of the above cases, social media is used in a way much more than just search marketing and advertising.

[The greatest opportunities lie where companies be part of communities where ads may not even be present]

So before we suggest that social media marketing is ineffective, we should first look at the bigger picture, and perhaps revisit the 95 theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto.

Think bigger my friends. (Update: Steve Rubel is)

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  • http://www.mytechnologycompany.com Trevor Speirs

    Jeremiah,
    Thanks for questioning the quick reaction that social media advertising must be no good because it doesn’t deliver the results that Search does.
    My Feb.8th blog post questioned this very outlook. I suggested that Social Media advertising should be viewed as a way to build brand awareness (like we use TV show advertising), not get clicks.

    Aaron Wall’s post really adds another layer to the discussion by arguing that social media also presents co-branding opportunities. If the brand is targeted at specific niches, I totally agree. If it has broader appeal, I argue a brand building campaign on social networks will also be effective.

    The main point is that everyone loves search advertising because it delivers a measurable result – user engagement in the form of a click. We can not rely on that for CPM social media advertising because user engagement is not the primary goal. The goal is to build awareness of the brand and link it with specific attributes. To properly measure the success of these campaigns, we need to use traditional consumer product advertising tools like surveys measuring brand recall.

    I have heard the “social media ads don’t work” mantra so many times that I am really roused up to get the word out that there are other ways to look at this issue. Thanks for raising attention.
    As always, thought provoking posts!

  • VK

    Just a thought….if I go to a party, I am in the social mindset, if there is a vendor with a small table (I am recalling Green Peace at REM shows in the ’80′s) I might give it a look, but I am in the social mindset, deeply of that mindset. If you want me to engage, it needs to be more than search ad’s on the side of the screen. Marketers need to get creative (big insight huh) and figure it out, that’s the problem/opportunity of any new media. So thanks Facebook for a free infrastructure to track my friends – the drinks are free and I am here for my friends (period.) I might pay attention to your sponsors if it’s fits with my mindset. I am new to trying to figure out this space but have decades in retail business – there are hundreds of patterns we use to get folks to engage with us but here are few social patterns that work: Book Club readings, how to events(think home depot), cooking classes..If vendors create value added content that might get others to socially engage in a commerce relationship then look at what works in the off line world. In trying to get the gestalt of this space (I have been thinking about it for a month) – I think the only folks who will make money are the people who sell the social networking equiv of tee shirts, posters and accessories(the app companies) – because…this is all fashion and superficial fronting to look good among your current set of peeps. And I went to the venture lab thing, where were the women developers, they should own the application space, come on, this is fashion – unless I am an old guy who doesn’t get how we are being transformed by the new version of the 45RPM.

  • http://peterdawson.blogspot.com /pd

    true– if the culture ends before the market begins then you are out of the market. WoM is a strong allay for product build. monetization via social media is just a thin slice of what the market has to offer.. the bigger picture is how to build the bestest for the community..

  • http://blog.bcchinese.net/mkting2 Sun Zhifeng

    Jeremiah, thanks for taking time to answer my twitter question

  • http://lalunablanca.wordpress.com Dave Barger

    Related to Trevor Speirs’ comment, we’re most recently spoiled by the opportunity to measure our CTR’s and ultimately conversions.

    Consciously or not, we all make a Value|Risk assessment before we choose to convert from prospect to customer.

    An enterprise’ initial experience in Social Networking should be to establish a presence and engage its existing client-base. In my presentations and conversations, I drive that point hard and also drive the point that an enterprise should NOT initially use SN to gain market share. What I don’t drive as hard and maybe should is:

    By virtue of visibly and actively facilitating a conversation with its existing market, a brand will passively expand its market.

    Perhaps we should remember that consumers still get to choose (even when lead to water) to convert. In the Value|Risk assessment, we recognize value in the existence of the conversation. We feel a reduced risk because we derive a sense of security knowing that we will be heard if a problem arises.

    Because a consumer can derive this additional Value and reduced Risk WITHOUT participating (just lurking), it becomes almost impractical to measure.

    I hate to think that we’ll have to get to numerous market surveys to convince the masses. However, this leaves the playing field less impeded for those wanting to adopt now. Cheers to them!

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  • VK

    Some obvious/hasty/informal SN segmentation:

    Facebook, MySpace – younger people or single folks whose life patterns include a desire to maintain high levels of communications with their peers, friends and relationship prospects.
    LinkedIn – people who want to organize their work relationship to help with job/career related questions, help access companies via existing relationships, help find a job.
    Ning/Get Satisfaction – tools to organize communities around activity/life stage/brand, behavior, demographic, taste affinities or around common communications contexts..

    as we know, each of these contexts can be broken down into the standard set of design artifacts: cognitive map’s, activity maps, persona’s, behavioral segments, scenarios etc. – has forrester done this kind of analysis? has anyone done an ethnography on the various major styles of social networks (I know the list above is light and probably way off, but as mentioned, I am trying to get a sense for how the internet internet audiences have organized themselves around SN’s to jump start a formal project into mapping an existing b2c business into the space using traditional design methods (that includes secondary research) – does anyone know where the centers of study are on SN segmentation research?

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  • VK

    Just a thought….if I go to a party, I am in the social mindset, if there is a vendor with a small table (I am recalling Green Peace at REM shows in the '80's) I might give it a look, but I am in the social mindset, deeply of that mindset. If you want me to engage, it needs to be more than search ad's on the side of the screen. Marketers need to get creative (big insight huh) and figure it out, that's the problem/opportunity of any new media. So thanks Facebook for a free infrastructure to track my friends – the drinks are free and I am here for my friends (period.) I might pay attention to your sponsors if it's fits with my mindset. I am new to trying to figure out this space but have decades in retail business – there are hundreds of patterns we use to get folks to engage with us but here are few social patterns that work: Book Club readings, how to events(think home depot), cooking classes..If vendors create value added content that might get others to socially engage in a commerce relationship then look at what works in the off line world. In trying to get the gestalt of this space (I have been thinking about it for a month) – I think the only folks who will make money are the people who sell the social networking equiv of tee shirts, posters and accessories(the app companies) – because…this is all fashion and superficial fronting to look good among your current set of peeps. And I went to the venture lab thing, where were the women developers, they should own the application space, come on, this is fashion – unless I am an old guy who doesn't get how we are being transformed by the new version of the 45RPM.

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