Social Media Marketing - What is it and What is it Good For?

Mar 19, 2008 - 11:21 am 1 by

Marketing to and through social networks means humans are hot again. Not as directory editors; it's Web 2.0 and your customers are in control. The old-fashioned media buy has gone bye-bye. Social Media marketing is fast emerging as a must-have in search strategies. Learn about the social search revolution, and hear case studies of how marketers have successfully promoted brands and products with it. Moderator:

* Pauline Ores, SES Advisory Board and Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media Engagement, General Business, IBM Corporation


* Conn Fishburn, Director of Social Media Strategy, Yahoo! Inc. * Don Steele, Director of Digital Marketing, Comedy Central * Chris Winfield, President, 10e20, LLC * Jory Des Jardins, Co-Founder & President of Strategic Alliances, BlogHer * Chris Beland, Partner, Director, Interactive Marketing & Social Media Practice , Ogilvy Worldwide

Conn Fishburn talks about the New Now (or How Social Changes Everything). Social media is the aggregate of human activity. You can't talk about social media without the people involved in it. He calls this the rise of the people. There are 6.5 billion people; there's a lot of crowding. Technology is improving.

There are over 800 million people online--there's an inflection point. In the last few months, the web is not modeled on existing behavior. It's a new medium in itself that has tremendous power and processing and lets people connect throughout the world. When you overlay that ability with people and their habits and behaviors and desires and passions, you get a fabric that creates a new experience for users -- and marketers.

10-15 years ago: We had dialup. We now have broadband. The youngest generation today doesn't know about the world without the Internet. We've evolved. They just are.

This is about a cultural change over technology. Social search changes things - layer people onto a technological system

The Killer App of the Web has always been other people. People create content and share them with other people. This is the backbone of what's happening. Humans are social animals and this has happened all throughout history.

What does this mean in the future? We've gone from an evolution of "mass media" to "we media." It changed the way brands go to market because of the democratization and dialogue. Brands and companies are part of the cultural fabric now.

What is social media? - Media is made by and for users in communities: posts, dialogues, etc. - over a shared cultural passion or interest - A business model in which "our customers are suppliers" - An advertising system in which people articulate their interests and passions and share marketing messages with each other. If you see your friend is a fan of a product on Facebook, for example, they are endorsing the product and it piques curiosity - A new netowrk approach to soliving hard problems in networked information systems. - Platforms, systems, and applications that connect media, technology, and people together into a processing and value-creation network

Influencers play a huge role in social media. However, a big influencer and a regular person has no better predictive evidnece in making something tip. Neither is a better indicator of what will catch on or what won't (according to Duncan Watts). What matters is the condition of the network.

People need to work together holistically. In terms of the conversation, you need to consider all other channels in search and put social into the match.

What to do: First, listen Second, become part of a story Third, always bring some wine Fourth, be good to your mother - have conversations with real people. Fifth, think holistically Social media is here to stay.

[Sorry, Search Engine Roundtable readers, if you've read Conn's earlier presentation that I liveblogged, this is all redundant information. He only added one new slide. :( ]

Chris Beland from Ogilvy is up next. His presentation is - web 2.0 and social media - why? What is this emerging proliferation of UGC and conversational marketing? We need to connect the dots so we looked at this.

Look at the numbers - the top 3 sources of credible information - Recommendations from other people - Newspapers - experts and pundits - Consumer opinions posted online Takeaway: Peer to peer or user generated is the number one source for "trusted" information and traditional sources continue to decline. Does it make sense to tap into it as marketers? How many people are doing this? - Emerging Vehicles - blogs, online games, social networks, virtual worlds, widgets and wikis are on the map as marketing tactics. - They're also considered mainstream by the user audience. People expect brands to be very participatory on the web. - Digital ad spending continues to increase and scale. These tactics will only roll out more. People like it? Does it make sense? Is there a future? All yes.

Is it relevant to everybody? We took a look at B2B. 70+% of people when trying to make a business decision look at search engines for information. They are still looking for facts, features, functionality, where to buy, etc. They also look at contextual relevance and their peer groups.

What allows us to scale that is the fact that like-minded people allows us to target different groups and to establish that relationship and to start that conversation.

Does it work? Sites that utilize this technology (positive reviews, comment on experience) are converting more and are heavily trafficked.

There big plays as a strategic umbrella. 1. Listening as a disciplined marketing practice 2. Advocacy as a deliberate marketing channel. Use advocates. 3. Unlock and unleash content for wide distribution. There's a lot of great content so unleash it in a way that's relevant and credible.

Specifically, we mean: 1 - Listening as a marketing practice: passive listening (who is saying what, where, when , why) - Active listening = engagement (transparent, commitment, context/value proposition) 2 - Advocacy as a marketing channel: measure, impact, and activate audience's propensity to recommend the brand. You need word of mouth marketers and give them a platform to evangelize for you. There are a lot of ways to do this; give them early access to a new piece of content. 3 - Unlock and unleash content: earned media to accompany paid plans: enable and encourage audience to share content. Aggregate it, make it available, etc.

What a new plan might look like: Current: DM/media, email, landing page, content syndication, and search Tomorrow: Listening posts (listen to what people are saying), search/content syndication, influencer engagement, advocacy activation, DM/media, email, dynamic landing pages (multivariate) rich media, earned media, other emerging channels, and closed with a listening post.

Quick example: Cisco - engaged 14 bloggers in the technology space about the human network. It became often talked about and dominated search rankings. It even had a Wikipedia for awhile.

Quick story: I stopped my phone in a puddle. It died. I realized I'd buy a new toy. I went to the Verizon site and saw features and functionality but it doesn't tell me if I can hear it on a rainy NY street. I went to Google and got as much inforamtion I could. Google gave me a lot of information -- too much. I went to Technorati (blog aggregator) and checked the phone models - lots of great information but it wasn't really relevant to me. Then I saw videos at the bottom of the page. The information I found was exactly what I was looking for. Some guy was passionate about it and put it on the web. You might ask "who has time for that?" If a small amount of people does this, though, it's still incredibly valuable. There are a ton of videos like these that are contextually relevant! Pull that into your product's web page and put a spotlight on the individual. That's pretty powerful. If you combine that, you have an influential program that crosses across different channel.

Payoffs - Domination! - (and some other stuff he said really quickly)

Chris Winfield is up next and he's talking about tagging.

Social news and social bookmarking websites are great for discovery. A lot of people don't know you exist and they're not even considering searching for you. The most important thing is influence: millions of people are on these sites everyday and they want to hear from you. You should leverage that.

Three sites: Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Digg

Delicious is a social bookmarking site that's part of Yahoo. There are other sites like Clipmarks, Blinklist, and Furl all work the same way. How does it work? Save a page you like. You can add notes and tags. It also works for discovery: people can discover pages by tags/network/popularity. What works? Lists (which have worked throughout time), resources (how tos), tools Advantages for marketers - why you should care: influencing people, look what people have saved (e.g. Steve Rubel's RSS feed) There are 2 things that are important in homepage and popular page, which has frequently tagged pages. Those are very popular methods to drive traffic to your website. In the future, delicious might be integrated into search results. Example: AJAX translation tools - 667 people bookmarked it. 9500+ visitors in the first 24 hours plus a few hundred per month since. It helped to build over 800 links to the page.

StumbleUpon is a web browser plugin that allows you to find cool new things. It's owned by eBay and has close to 4.5 million users. How does it work? The toolbar can be downloaded and works for FireFox or IE. You stumble pages, you say I like it or Not for me and you can network with people based on similar interests. What works? A great thing to look at is The bigger the word, the more interested people are in that content. There's a really wide variety of sites featured there. SU is important to apply: catch people's eyes very quickly. People click the button over and over at work so you want to keep them on your page. It's so easy to click that button! Videos and images work really well as do eclectic pages (humor). Advantages for marketers: rapid and consistent traffic quickly. Increase your audience base. It also increases RSS subscriptions. Also, tags show up in the search results. Example: a company that sells customized magazine covers - most bltant use of photoshop in magazines and ads. It did very well: 68,522 visitors out over 90 days. 38,000 of those visited more than 3 pages. It helped build over 600 links to the page.

Digg is the last one: user driven social news site--democratic news. Over 1,000,000 registered users and 25million uniques per month. Reddit, Propeller, and Shoutwire are similar sites. Yahoo Buzz is a relatively newcomer to the space. Articles, images, videos are submitted by users, and based on the algorithm, if enough people like it, it's going to go to the homepage. What works? Lists (top 5 mythbusters segments), technology/politics/health/business, self help/how to get around things Advantages for marketers: traffic (typically between 10k and 60k visitors in a 24 hour period). Exposure: getting in front of thousands of new people who probably wouldn't have come into contact your brand normally. It is also able to influence. People blog about content on Digg. It then goes to another social site (Reddit, SU, shoutwire, etc.). Then it goes to government websites, mainstream press, forums, non profits - everone keeps looking. Example: Top 11 Underground Transit Systems in the World. 151 comments with the majority being positive. Over 20k unique visitors in 24 hours. Spread to other social networks. It spreads to influential blogs. Over 1000 natural links. Over 100,000 visitors over 24 hours. Over 200 new email list signups, 12 new bookings directly from blog referrals. 75k visitors from Google in the past 9 months.

Tips: Promote great content. Build your networks. Be social! Contribute to the communities. Don't churn and burn. Long term relationships will suffer. Make sites work together (save site on digg, delicious, etc.) Have good hosting

Jory from BlogHer (she's an evangelist there) is up next. She talks about Managing the Unavoidable - building a brand in the blogosphere. The biggest fear of any brand is that someone will say something about your product. If you avoid the blogosphere, you miss out on opportunities and people will talk about you anyway, so you might as well approach the blogosphere with defense, not offense.

Bloggers like to ego search. Jory searched for her name on Google. She was showing up in results 2, 6, 7. Blogs show up first. Commenting on blogs can help - do a search for your name.

She used to write about products that upset her (Chase identity theft). She called Chase and told them and they ended up sending collections on her. This was 2.5 years ago, and even though it's old news, she's #25.

Example Elise Bauer - she ranks very well for terms that trump brands. Blogs can trump brands.

How do you deal with bloggers in a way that doesn't hurt your brand, or if you don't want to engage bloggers, how do you deal with them in a way that makes you look good? Big gripe: I do not want to put out my product in case a blogger may say something negative. Fear of "brandicide." What's the worst thing that can happen when you put your brand out there? Harper Collins had BlogHer promte their books. They provided 50 copies of books to bloggers. Not every blogger wrote about it and not every blog was positive, but sales still shot up! People were talking about the books and that was good enough. Example: Dove - give away schwag - People review it! (Hello!!!!!!!!!!!)

You do get credit for trying.

Takeaways: - Avoidance is not a strategy. - When in doubt, engage. - If touchy feely just isn't in your DNA, play defense

Don Steele is next. He usually talks about Wikipedia. Not this time!

Comedy Central likes to let fans and people rise to the top. That's part of their SM strategy. Audience: 18-34 who live in digital space. CC as a brand must understand how, why, and where they're doing it. The audience is not necessarily finding CC by searching for "comedy central." Realization: don't just build a walled garden. Talk about it, engage, and benefit. CC people in programming perspective - funny, engaging, suprising, and smart. From digital marketing perspective: discoverable branded, portable, smart We are producing professionally produced content so it has to be branded. Understand what it looks like, that it's tagged correctly, etc. Be smart - transparent in what we're doing - identify yourself as a CC person.

One of the things they used is to talk about their social media plan: it includes Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Funny Or Die, Break, MySpace, CollegeHumor, DailyKos, Fark, Perez Hilton, and the Huffington Post. Look at all these sites and see how our audience is being represented there. FB has groups about all of our shows; make sure we're building applications in these spaces. Make sure we're addressing concers. CC content is on Digg, Reddit, SU - we don't advertise there.

Examples: - Facebook application (Root of all Evil show - Which one is more evil?) - brand participation - Outreach: talking to bloggers all the time. Embed content from CC.

Equation: CC programming + (online advertising + search) * social media efforts = smart digital strategy


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