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The catalysts of social media

Earlier today I mentioned that I would love to use the words granular and linear when I talk to people about social media and marketing, but my mind doesn’t work in a linear or granular fashion. I’m more of a black and white type. I like to distill things down.

As I was walking my black and white dog this morning I was struck by a notion that really, what might be driving widespread social media adoption are 2 simple things.  Word of Mouth and Search.

A social network happens because of what? Because someone told us about it or we did a search. Pretty much, right?  Yes there may have been an accelerant( see traditional marketing) that drove us to the social network, but for the most part how we get there is pretty simple.

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The Confluence of Social and Search

When defining the next big think, I am never surprised how much mobile, search and social continue to loom on the horizon. In fact, if you look at what’s happening in Japan it would boggle your mind.

Three-quarters of Japanese social network users access the sites only from their mobile phones.

Couple that with Google buying AdMob for $750 million and you can easily see where this is all heading.  But as the barriers to search and social and mobile continue to be broken down, I cannot help to think that the following is not true to some degree…

Social Media and Search

It’s as simple as this and the sooner you realize it, the more you will “Get” the big picture.

ChangandEng

Social media and Search are inextricably joined and always will be. Each driving the other. Each feeding off of, and sleeping with each other. They are…like Chang and Eng.

Your success is determined by one thing

I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but right now your marketing initiatives, your social media efforts, your email campaign, your DRTV campaign and more- all of it will rely on one thing in the end. Consider the following scenarios:

  • You are going to launch a new product. You build a website but how are you going to drive people to the site? How do they find it?
  • You launch a new product with a new company, that no one has ever heard of before, how will people find out more about you, your company, and your product?
  • You launch a new social network, how will it grow? How is it found? You start a new blog and you want people to read your kick-ass content? How will they know you’re out there? You join a new social network, how do you meet others?
  • You launch a new brick and mortar business, how do you drive business? Newspapers? Radio? Magazine? What is a person’s first knee jerk reaction to your advertising?
  • Your reputation? Where can you find it? How can you find it? Do you know if anybody is talking about you, your company and your product?
  • Your friends? Your family, How do they find you? Old friends? How do they find you?
  • You need a new job. How will you get your next one?

I could go on. But I think you get the point. Everything. and I mean everything that you do revolves around…

SEARCH

Think about it.

search-engines

The top searches for the week? Obsessing over hot women.

In a tribute to the female form, apprently all anyone wants to search on anymore is female actresses and models. So does this mean that the majority of all searches done this week were done by males? Possibly. Does this mean that all they care about is hot women? Perhaps. Does this mean that the war in Iraq and the presidential elections don’t matter to them? Probablly. Of the top 20 searches according to the Lycos 50, 9 of them were the usual suspects when it comes to women in the news. Hillary notwithstanding.

Oh and the obsession with Clay Aiken continues, as he slides in with the number 2 ranking this week. Interestingly enough, if you are to look at the big picture of what is getting press right now, 2 of the entries were Facebook and MySpace, which I thought were curious searches in that one merely needs to type the addresses into the browser. So perhaps it might have been parents who were doing research on, “what this Facebook, Myspace stuff was all about”.

At #1, is there any real surprise?

Lindsay Lohan

Clay Aiken

Britney Spears

Paris Hilton

Angelina Jolie

Pamela Anderson

Disney

Pokemon

Naruto

Easter

Juno

Facebook

MySpace

Jessica Alba

Apple

WWE

Jessica Simpson

Poker

BitTorrent

Carmen Electra

Golf

NBA

Salma Hayek

Sailor Moon

Customer Acquisition in Social Media Marketing

After reading this entry in Top Rank Blog about tips for marketing with social media, something crossed my mind. Though there were some great tips on things that people can do to use the power of social meda to bolster marketing, I was not seeing THE sure fire way. It was gray. I think it’s still gray, and I’ll tell you why.

Lets take for example Client A. Client A wants to use social media, has heard about social media or at least has heard about blogs for example, and wants to use it to drive traffic to his or her sites, increase sales and or use it for branding purposes. That seems to be a safe assumption for most companies.

Well those are all well and good, but first things first. Where does the client go? You have consultants running around out there claiming to know how to do it, but by the looks of the tips. I saw nothing that was a “business process”. I saw a here try this, or this works, or a you might want to try this or I have seen that…..Get the point? A client needs to know what are you going to do, how are you going to do it, how long is it going to take, and what will I get from your efforts, amongst other things.

The problem is, with social media, though you can measure traffic to a certain degree, the “process” or the initiation of a social media campaign is not an overnight phenomenon. there are some instances of it occurring from a viral marketing standpoint but It’s a process that needs to be cultivated. The issue that most clients have with this business model is that they don’t have time to nurture their presence in social networks. Their businesses require immmediate results and returns.

Businesses know this and need to know this: 1) Here is my customer I know what it takes to acquire this customer via this form of advertising, sales and marketing and channel. 2) Here is my customer, what is it going to cost me to acquire that customer through social media? And what are the steps that you are going to take and what are they going to cost me for you to achieve that? After you first explain to me what social media is…

After they ask you “Is it like Myspace”? 

If you the social media marketer come to me and say, “We’re going to create a Facebook group for you, A couple of blogs, maybe a bbs, a couple of microsites, and we’re also going to Twitter and use Stumbleupon as well as a handful of others.” I’m first going to say, “Huh?  and then “ok, what is that going to do”? And you’ll say, “We’re branding you, and we’re driving traffic to these sites and pages and they’re finding out more about you”!.  To which I will say, “Thats great, how many sales can I expect? What kind of conversion rates can I expect from social media???” At that point I better get a really good answer or another plan that perhaps uses a widget or two that is placed in strategic social media sites that can drive traffic and convert sales.

 That’s the real question, or rather one of the many questions. Here they are and you might want to use them as you are approached by social media marketers or companies who will claim to know what they are doing.

  • What is your social media plan?
  • Do I need sales, leads or traffic
  • What types of social media do you plan to use and why those? and why not these?
  • What will be the upfront costs? What ongoing costs can I expect?
  • What will be the costs of customer acquisition? A cost per acquisition model certainly applies here!
  • How long will it take to roll this plan out
  • What kinds of deliverables can I expect and when
  • What is your track record
  • Have you ever worked with this type of product or my type of company before?
  • How successful have you been
  • What will it take to manage it on my own
  • Lets focus on some deliverables
  • Lets set some benchmarks with incentives
  • What is your plan to integrate this social media plan with our other marketing plans
  • What if you fail
  • What guarantees do I have
  • References

The key here is alot of agencies are starting to add social media as it’s own division within their companies. Though there are very few companies and agencies who have done it right over a sustained period of time, because of the “new-ness” of it all. It’s up to you to figure out who can deliver what, and in what time frame. The last thing you need is for someone or some company to experiment with your brand as they muddle their way through figuring out just what works and what doesn’t work with social media marketing.

Lastly what companies and businesses and people need to realize is that social media marketing is a moving target. It’s changing and morphing into something different every day. The reason is, marketers are figuring out new and unique ways to leverage the media to the advantage of the client. Some are proven, some are loopholes, some are brainstorms and some are just plain strokes of genius. Though you still need a concrete strategy as you go forward. It doesn’t hurt to have someone who is willing to take a chance or try something different on your behalf. Keep that in mind as you work your way down the bulleted list. The first of many steps will be finding someone who knows social media marketing and actually has a business model wrapped around social media marketing. As it is a moving target, I’m sure that there are some differring opinons on this. What do you think?


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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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