I think we can all safely say that social media is here to stay on the consumer and the business front.
However what seems to daunt and even paralyse some people in getting started is the very amorphous (hard to measure too) nature of social media tools. It seems a pity that so many individuals and businesses are missing out by being to risk-phobic in social media exploration.
The other thing that many of us including me forget from time to time is that social media is essentially good marketing conducted online.
It is about knowing your target market, possibly segmenting that market and then tailoring the message to each sub-group. Its really not rocket science.
However it appears a few thousand global gurus and geeks have gotten in over-complicating social media, what it is and can be, clouding its essential simplicity and actual familiarity. Social media done correctly is really like running a successful marketing campaign. Period.
Sure you may have advanced technology but for those of us who worked in direct marketing in the days when this was the new fad for marketers..it is no more complex or baffling!
Back then it could get pretty complicated deciding what customer attributes a database should be segmented by, how large a sample should be taken when conducting campaigns to obtain desired revenue, what would be a reasonable response rate and then the legality of direct mail campaigns with ever increasing privacy, requiring whole in-house legal teams being attached to major marketing teams.
As for the databases, they were often in-house clunky dinosaurs of relational databases many of which in the very early days (UNIX and C-programming) required the user to input learned search queries to elicit data. Then once you got your list you had to often manually check for quality (duplicates, obsolete records, errroneous records, incomplete records). Then you would have to work out how to conduct a mail merge and get the printer to print out address labels and letters in between everyone else in the office trying to print out their office correspondence and e-mails (a common office habit 20-30 years ago)!
So… compared to all this social media and social media technology are straightforward.
Sure the applications may have advanced but the ease of use has improved drastically. More importantly the concepts or many of the concepts of social media are borrowed directly from marketing and advertising 101 principles:-
*Really knowing your customer and target audience and letting them know you want to know them better.
*Analysing their qualities, social-demographics and using this to maximise revenue by segmenting according to appropriate attributes (age, location, education, work, place of birth etc).
*Devising campaigns that subtly target these groups with tailored messages (as marketers & advertisers have always done!). As for marketing the campaign can empathise the product features & the benefits, the distribution (where it is available) or price (value for money).
*Tracking campaigns for effectiveness replacing online analytics with response rate to campaigns and views per advertisement.
*Maintaining an ongoing 2-way relationship with the customer combining traditional above the line marketing (TV, radio, print), below the line marketing (direct mail) plus the new marketing kid on the block social media marketing (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter/Vine, Google+, Pinterest and You Tube.
Remember one thing that certainly has not changed..customers whether B2C or B2B want you to keep it real. Today’s consumers of either group are far more savvy in marketing, the mechanism of the advertising message and the various technology platforms that marketers use to reach them.