Social media marketing is about achieving your goals by first satisfying your target audiences needs and goals.

  • what is the right Product for your customer?
  • is it offered at the right Price?
  • is it offered in the right Place?
  • effective Promotion is what delivers customer matches to your product, advantageous pricing, and last, but certainly not least, ACCESS for the customer to the product!

Social media marketing isn’t an instantaneous marvel of commerce, it’s really a long term investment.  Business will not be booming the next day.  Social media marketing will provide a steady stream of information about your target audience, allowing you to cultivate specialized knowledge and build lasting relationships.

Social media marketing demands diligent planning.  What are your goals?  Who is your target audience? What are their goals and needs?  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  What are your competitors doing?  What are the best social media channels to reach your target audience?  And those are just of few of the many more questions to be asked during the planning process.

Metrics are imperative, from start to finish, and they’re part of the planning process too.  Being able to measure progress and reach goals can only happen with clearly established benchmarking.  Marketing is a process, and markets are fluid.  Metrics can help you anticipate when it’s time to switch gears, change strategies, and adapt to your target audiences wants and needs.

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Crowdsourcing?  Is it a good idea for an instructor to solicit changes to an assignment from his students?

It depends.  This class is a first-run effort.  The meteoric growth of social media is a relatively new phenomenon.  If the objective of the class, as stated, is to provide a positive student outcome and valuable content, then soliciting feedback from your students seems appropriate and useful.

Here are two thoughts for inclusion in the Semester Project:

  1. There should be some time devoted to considering how traditional media can work in conjunction with social media for superior results.
  2. There is a feast of knowledge proffered on the website, but getting a student to sign-up for classes is the point of action desired. For institutions of higher learning such as LCCC, their service is intangible, but it can also be enticing. How will the social media campaign motivate the prospective student to commit to LCCC, and especially it’s Business Division?  Focusing on converting customer engagement through social media to commitment on the Business Division’s website is critical.

Marshall McLuhan studied how different forms of media affected individuals and society.  He proposed that each medium, regardless of the content it carries, has its own intrinsic qualities, and those qualities are embedded in the medium’s content. In that way, McLuhan suggested that the ultimate message of any new medium or technology is the change of scale; the change of pace; or the change of behavioral patterns that it introduces to human affairs. “The medium is the message” because it is the “medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.”

McLuhan looked at technology and media as extensions of the human faculties of thought, sight, hearing, voice and physical ability beyond what would otherwise be their normal range. He looked at how a medium affects how we think; he looked at how we interact with a medium, and whether or not it altered our dependence or independence and interdependence. He compared how we functioned before the introduction of a new medium/technology, to how we functioned after, and considered whether the changes could be viewed as positive or negative.  Were adjustments needed? How should they be made? By whom?

If technology and media could be looked at as extension of human faculties, or in effect, extensions of ourselves, then that alteration of our natures must also extend to an alteration of human society. It is those broader societal changes that McLuhan was most interested in, and they are the ones he wanted us to focus on when he proclaimed “The medium is the message”.  He was trying to get us to see beyond the immediate content, beyond the immediate shape of the technology, beyond the distraction, to see the more significant changes introduced by the new medium.

McLuhan wanted to help us figure out ways to ease or lessen some of the damaging effects that were sometimes felt with the arrival of any new medium or technology.He believed that once we looked beyond the immediate content of message, and focused on the content embedded in the medium, then we could begin to take control of the societal changes introduced with the arrival of the new medium/technology.

McLuhan developed a simple visual tool, the tetrad, as a way of looking at and thinking about media and technology.  He thought of it as a teaching tool, to help us study and analyze the impact and effects of new technology or media on individuals and society.  The goal was to determine the relative benefits or damages introduced by the new media.

McLuhan’s tetrad examines the syntax of new media by asking four questions:

  • What does the medium enhance?
  • What does the medium make obsolete?
  • What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier?
  • What does the medium flip into when pushed to the extreme?

In the tetrad, four diamonds are arranged without overlapping.  In the center, at the point of intersection, sits the medium itself.   McLuhan assigned the two diamonds on the left as figure – enhancement and retrieval.  On the right, McLuhan assigned the other two diamonds as ground – reversal and obsolescence.  McLuhan said that to fully understand the effects of a new technology/medium, you must examine figure (the medium) and ground (context) together, because neither is completely comprehensible individually.  Like an Escher drawing, the tetrad helps us to see all sides of a complex dynamic simultaneously.

My Take on McLuhan and his Tetrad in Relation to Social Media:

Social Media:

  • Enhances:
    • Thought/social interaction/more information and choices
  • Retrieves:
    • neighborhood gathering/a forum/group information
  • Reverses:
    • information overload/misinformation/thoughtless acts/bias information
  • Obsolesces:
    • books and publications/one-way forms of communication

My Take on McLuhan and his Tetrad in Relation to Social Media Marketing:

Social Media Marketing:

  • Enhances:
    • worldwide marketplace
  • Retrieves:
    •  hand-in-glove fit of buyer to seller/village marketplace
  • Reverses:
    • short-circuited by a sea of choice
  • Obsolesces
    •  conventional advertising/print media
  • Timothy Kraft, Web Professional

I particularly like this post in the way he applies with keen insight the tetrad to the current technology and media environment.  His tetrad diagrams showing the darker, flip side of social media are persuasive.

Mind Before You Mine, McLuhan’s Tetrad Applied to Internet

  • Suzemuze, Communications Professional

I like this post too, and pretty much agree with all of it, especially this sentence near the end:

. . . in McLuhan’s estimation, it means we’re going to have to think very carefully about how we’re making tools for the generations coming up behind us.

What Marshal McLuhan Knew About Social Media

  • Andrew Keen is an entrepreneur, author and social media critic.

In his book The Cult of the Amateur, How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture, Keen offers up his concerns about social media. He addresses how the quality and reliability of information can erode society’s ability/inclination to engage in critical thinking.

The book was reviewed in the New York Times’ Books of the Times, by Michiko Kakutani in June of 2007.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/29/books/29book.html

  • I came across this interesting page, McLuhan, Web 2.0 Master, by prolific blogger Kevin Kelly.  He talks about how McLuhan was able to forecast our future with social media.

http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/04/mcluhan_web_20_master.php

  • Finally, Clay Shirky, Academic and Social Media Theorist is shown in a great video on TED That I came across During my research for this weeks assignment. It brings home the fact that the old-line media types can no longer control the message by themselves.  Those that once were consumers are now publishers in their own right, not just consumers; they are assuming control of the media, just as McLuhan predicted. It’s worth looking at:

Clay Shirky:  How Social Media Can Make History

. . . that the themes that make for effective social media marketing were ones that repeated over and over again.  Among these were five that stood out:

  • Target your market/audience
  • Engage your audience
  • Establish a personal connection
  • Keep it current
  • Commit to doing it right

These five themes rang true in all of Mike’s interviews, the range and diversity of which was considerable.  They appeared again in my classmates posts, and in research about what the ‘experts’ had to say.

Two very different organizations employing social media for marketing are CDM, a global, for-profit company, and The Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania. It is a community based, non-profit organization.

CDM is an environmental engineering consultancy, based in Cambridge Massachusetts.  They use YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep in contact with their staff, clients and their market base.  On YouTube, CDM posts videos about some of their recent projects.  In this way, they are sharing their most recent successes, and thus appealing to their target market.  The videos were interesting, and well produced.

CDM uses its Twitter account to announce a wide range of industry relevant and company specific tweets.  For instance, it uses Twitter for employee recognition, company acquisitions and national news pertinent to contracts and sales.  On LinkedIn, CDM’s site searches for new employees, and announces recent hires, employee awards, promotions and employee professional news.

The Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania, located in Pittsburgh, has an open door policy for providing food, shelter and medical attention to neglected or abandoned animals.  The League tries to return lost animals to their owners, and finds new homes for those abandoned.  The ARL uses Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler to stay connected within the community.

On Facebook, the ARL announces upcoming events, solicits donations, and posts images of recent adoptees and animals still in search of an adoptive home.  It also announces services, promotes giveaways and collaborations with other Pittsburgh organizations.  The site is constantly updated, and is very much directed towards the search for prospective adoptive homes.

ARL uses Twitter even more fluidly.  There are tweets about the shelter’s current residents, upcoming events, public awareness campaigns, and recent success stories.  A cute tweet recently by an ARL employee profiled Max the Cat, engaging the viewer via a link to Max’s own Facebook page.

The ARL’s blog page on Tumblr recently featured baby squirrels just brought into the League’s Wildlife Shelter.  Posts are frequent and varied, ranging from featured dog or cat of the week to volunteer appreciation to upcoming community services such as the Microchip Clinic.  In my opinion, the ARL effectively engages their target audience, forming personal connections while keeping the information current and relevant in their social media marketing.

. . . about effective social media marketing, and my five guidelines listed in the previous post:

Target your market/audience

Mike’s interview with Gina DeSantis said it well “ . . .  discover your niche market.”  In an article by Nellie Akalp that appeared earlier this year in the online magazine Mashable this theme is reinforced. She writes: “Social media has little to do with you; it’s all about your audience, customers, or whomever you’re trying to reach.”

Social Media for Small Businesses:  6 Effective Strategies

Engage your audience

Like artist Bob Peck says, “Be interesting and show your individuality.”  But, another important way of engaging your audience in social media, is to be interactive.  As the writer David Gutowski says, “The most effective people and brands on Twitter interact genuinely with their followers.”

Writing in Entrepeneur magazine in August of this year, Starr Hall puts the failure to connect interactively with customers as #1 in her top five list of social media marketing mistakes.  “If you are just talking to customers but not letting them to talk back and engage with you, then you are wasting considerable time and effort online.”

The Top Five Social Media Mistakes

Establish a personal connection

In responding to Mike’s question about the most important advantage of social media marketing over traditional marketing, Eva Lucien, MySpace manager for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, says it’s “Personal connection in real time. That’s what people seem to looking for with social media . . . a way to discuss info and interact with other people who share their interests.”

In a renowned and terrific 2009 SlideShare presentation, marketing executive Marta Kagan, Director, Brand & Buzz at HubSpot in Boston, underscores the point.  Pretty good at engaging the audience herself, she uses the adorable image of two conversing toddlers in slide 46, with the heading “You see, it’s supposed to be a dialogue, not a monologue.”  For the entire 83 slide presentation (this one takes up some RAM, and a few moments to load):

What The F**k Is Social Media one year later*

For more on this point, download Ohio Web Leaders presentation “Social Media in Business”, Dispelling the Myths and Fears of Using Social Media in Business and look for slide 3.

Keep it current

Per Mike’s interview with local entrepreneur Maggie, gourmet cupcake shop owner says about her shop’s Facebook page. “ . . . people flock to the site just to see what we have that day.” Emphasizing the importance of keeping the site fresh, she says “We use it daily to list our flavors, have contests periodically and let people know what is happening in our business!”

An article by Frank Marquardt, director of Content Strategy at The Barbarian Group, a digital services and creation company that Mashable ran this past January, reiterated the point.  In it, Mr. Marquardt states “Time your content.”  He clarifies:  “Make sure it’s relevant to where people are in their lives and the season. Nobody cares about Santa Claus in January, but a whole lot of people care about sales after Christmas.”

5 Key Tips for a Successful Social Media Content Strategy

Commit to doing it right

Finally, in Mike’s interview with Lou Tisler, who manages a non-profit organization in Cleveland, this point is made explicitly, and emphatically:  “Commit to it and don’t do it half a….”  In the same edgy, attention grabbing vein, Marta Kagan’s SlideShare presentation, mentioned above, quotes Google executive Avinash Kaushik on the very first slide:

Social media is like teen sex.  Everyone wants to do it.  Nobody knows how.  When it’s finally done there is surprise that it’s not better.

 What The F**k Is Social Media one year later*

Also on SlideShare, you can find this excellent presentation by the Dutch(?) social media expert Bart DeWaele (http://www.netlash.com/) that drives home the point with humor and wit:

7 harsh realities in Social Media




I couldn’t help but notice Mike’s use of quotation marks in referring to experts in his instructions for this week’s assignment.  In my research this week, I came across an interesting article that Fast Company published last year.  The article is a book excerpt from UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. by social media ‘expert’ Scott Stratten, president of UnMarketing, a marketing firm based in Canada. Mr. Stratten starts off the excerpt with this: “Social Media is so new that most people are making it up as they go . . . ”, with a sourced footnote to the following, at the bottom of the page:

1 – Nothing proves this more than the increase of social media experts from 5,000 in May 2009 to almost 16,000 listed on Twitter in December 2009) (source: whatsnextblog.com).

Social media is still such a rapidly evolving, and expansive frontier, that defining social media expert, is still wide open.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

The cornerstone of social media is the ability to quickly exchange information.  The oldest way to find products or services is by talking to people that you know and compare their experiences when you need similar products or services.

They are in a position to give you valuable advice about who (or what) you can trust for what you need.  You trust their word and recommendations.  This information is an endorsement, and it is golden.  An endorsement is something you can rely on.

Today the same thing is happening by way of social media.  The difference is that it is happening at a much faster pace, with a much larger group of people voicing their preferences, opinions and experiences.  Now, by the use of social media for marketing, organizations that provide products and services are intertwined as part of that conversation/experience as never before.

What is called, or referred to as Web 2.0, has enabled people to interact with one another, and whole groups of people, in real time via the rise of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and blogs.  Social media marketing takes advantage of these various outlets to connect anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Organizations are taking advantage of this new dynamic.  They are sharing (posting) feedback from their customers.  The customer is getting honest assessments, and the organizations are taking advantage by promoting themselves in the most popular ways that people communicate today.

In the process, organizations are getting a larger audience than they would by way of the conventional marketing of the past.  They are getting accurate input about consumer preferences, and even getting information about products and services wanted, but not yet offered; whether it’s a modification to an existing product or the need for a totally new one.  Companies now have one of the best toolkits ever to gauge the direction of the market, respond to demand, and cultivate their market share.

The smart organizations are taking advantage of social media marketing, and the really smart organizations are using professionals in public relations, consulting and advertising agencies to design and manage a more effective social media plan or campaign.

In my blogroll below, I’ve included the names of a few organizations that I have found to be particularly good sources for learning more about social media marketing.  In separated, self-titled entries at the top of this page, are two examples of very different organizations currently using social media