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

Aug 20, 2008 - 2:56 pm 2 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.


Vanina Delobelle is up first. She works with social media and user generated content at Monster.

What are Social Media?

  • Virtual Universes (Second Life, World of Warcraft)
  • Social Networks (Myspace, Facebook, Xing)
  • Blogs and Livecasts (Blogger,, seesmic, etc.)
  • Forums (Phorum, phpBB)
  • Microblogging (Pownce, Twitter
  • Diggs
  • Multimedia Sharing (YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare)

A user centric approach

  • Social Networks
  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Microblogging
  • Diggs
  • Multimedia sharing

The use of Social Media

  • Connect with people. Reach the people where they are in the way they are used to.
  • Keep brand positioning. Keep brand awareness to relay offline marketing campaigns.
  • Generate more traffic
  • Enlarge the targeted segment. Different type of people use different types of media.
  • Increase the use experience
  • Plus leverage current marketing results, get better brand awareness, get better brand management, get better user stickiness, get better quality products, get more sales.

The requirements for Social Media

  • Global means local. Because we deal with communities we need to be close to them. The communities are still local, if you want to go global, you need to be where they are an in their language.
  • Resources. Community managers need to get more focus.
  • Consistency. The effort should start and last. Be sure to keep users with your community.
  • Content. The content should get more focus and be relevant.

Towards a (global) user centric platform. This is what Monster has done for social media.

  • 2007
    • Blog (US)
    • Twitter (US)
  • 2008
    • Forums (EU, CAN)
    • Twitter (CAN, UK)
    • Others (UK)
  • 2009
    • Forums (Turkey, Russia…) Others (EU)
  • …and many more Social Media to be integrated all across the site.

Screenshots of the search engines’ golden triangles. Golden triangles are now dominated by social media.

Create user centric products.

  • People share, comment, communicate, rank…the product belongs to users. Give the users what they want.
  • An example: Monster UK
    • YouTube: 250,000 views
    • Facebook: 990 fans
    • Created one month ago. Bebo, Blogger, Delicious, Digg, Flickr, Friendfeed, hi5,, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Mashable, MySpace, Plaxo, Plurk, Pownce, Slideshare, Tumblr, Twitter, Xanga.
    • Increased page views by 24% in nine months on

Next is Erik Qualman.

He’s with EF Education and gives an overview of their company. He states you don’t want to be “that company” that’s two years behind social media. His company was “that company”, and he gives examples of what they have done and what they learned.

They did a Facebook application, but required people to give their information to add the application. A user complained, the company didn’t listen, so the user went and started Where I’ve Been, which was quite successful. He gave example of TripAdvisor and Cities I’ve Visited. You don’t need to have a totally unique application, showed how both are successful. But you can’t take the same traditional type of marketing to social media. Don’t require people to fill out forms for example.

 “Field of nightmares” – they built it (social app), but nobody came. Usually best to leverage existing community rather than trying to build your own in many cases. They did learn from their mistakes, and launched a social media product that actually was successful.

They started thinking about what it was that only their company could provide to the customer base. “Find who’s on your tour” Facebook application was a way for students to see who else was on their foreign country tour (many of the student tours of foreign countries are run through his company). Part of it was to be helpful to student, but part of it was also bragging to friends about where they were.

  • Where should I start? (Facebook, Myspace, etc.)
  • When should I start? Today! Don’t try to be perfect before your launch. Slap beta on it, figure out what people like, get out bugs, do this for a month or two, then learn from mistakes and make marketing push.
  • Can search engines crawl social media/networks?
  • Does Facebook PPC work? It depends. In his case, better to not put filters on. Don’t treat it like direct response. Build your community on Facebook initially.
  • What’s the easiest way for my company to use Twitter?
  • What else is exciting?

Brent Csutoras
How you can use social media to benefit you in conjunction with or independently of your search marketing campaign.

Social media is really broad – Twitter, IM, Facebook, etc. He’s found the most viable part of social media is to increase your visibility, ranking, links to your site, etc.

Important factors are Domain Age, On Page Factors, links. Links are harder to get these days, especially with problems with paid links. Social media can really help you here with links, traffic, visibility, and branding.

How it works: create content on a section on your site, find specific communities that will react well to your topic (don’t put your political content on a dog site), engage the people in these communities. People with blogs are looking for content and look at these communities. If you get your content on these sites, you get lots of exposure. People write about you, link to you, even talk to you outside of the web (TV, newspaper). You’re getting two types of links – community links (profiles showing what individuals voted on), and sites like Wired and others that write about you. The second type usually has better visitors, and you get long-term influx of links (weeks/months).

Case study of two campaigns that were simply images that they found and pushed out to the social media sites, especially Digg. Got over 8,000 quality inbound links (over 30 PR8 inbound links), would cost a lot of money to have bought these types of links.

Social Media Tips

  • Have a site that is social media friendly. Don’t plug advertising and marketing stuff. A week or so after you’re successful, then you can put advertising back on.
  • Pick communities you relate to. Research these communities, see what communities are appropriate.
  • Check what worked before. Do more research, see what was successful for others in your field.
  • Create high quality content.
  • Understand how to submit and push social campaigns.
  • Understand what to do with success.
  • Be social! Treat it like a real life social event.

Q&A Time

How do you deal with the time management aspect of social media? How do you not waste time? Social is not one of those things you can just spend a small time on. If you don’t have much time, focus on smaller things like bookmarking and bookmarking items that are high quality that others might pick up in social media. Another way to deal with limited time is to pick just one social media site that you want to participate in.

What about reputation management? You don’t have a choice, it’s going to happen. You need to participate. If there is something negative, address it, comment on it, then bring it back to your platform and your site. In a couple of months, they’ll often delete the original negative press. Offer people products, that often helps, or give them a phone call. Sometimes it’s not necessary to respond if it’s just one small mention, see if you can get a couple of down vote the comment.

Where do you see social media going in the next two or three years? Many panelists responded. You need to be going the extra mile, give people more power with what they can do on your site. Go beyond just social media, but integrate it into your marketing mix in general. TripAdvisor for example might look at where people have visited via their Facebook app, then use that data.

Coverage provided by Keri Morgret of Morgret Designs.


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