Ride the social media wave

ride the media wave

On the eve of the new year, a friend asked me to define, in one word, the decade we were about to depart. “Waves,” I answered. She looked puzzled, but I gave her an assured nod. Waves represent change. At times the change is gentle, like the soothing ebb and flow of the morning tide. At others, a wave may usher in a sweeping transformation that alters the landscape in inexpressible ways.

Marketing in the last decade was marked by waves that transformed its more traditional forms. Each new technological tide offered businesses an improved way to market their products and services. And businesses followed each trend not because it was in vogue but out of commercial necessity. At first companies went online for the sake of being online. Search optimization followed with a quick push to Google Adwords and, soon, blogging became the channel of choice.

Today, social media have garnered a new wave of attention as businesses race to ride the surge of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and any number of offerings that dot the vast sea of specialized user communities and forums. As in the past, the push toward these tools and services is not driven solely by popular trends but by the need to leverage commercially viable marketing channels. The viral effect of social media and the “auto-segmented” nature of its user networks are but two benefits that enable faster and cheaper growth of brand awareness and targeted market penetration. But, just as some waves wreak havoc, the effects of social media can be damaging as well. Social media spread bad news as quickly as good, and these channels face similar conversion challenges as those faced by traditional channels.

My personal journey into this proverbial sea has been slow and steady. Cautious by nature, I waited at the edge for a long time before taking the leap. As I slowly learn to balance the different channels in my life, I’m aided by few guidelines from trusted experts.

  • Be focused. Unguided musings may muddy your message and cause people to move on quickly. Build up your base of loyal and egaged advocates.
  • Be genuine. If you provide valuable information, users will come to respect your views rather than wonder about any ulterior motives.
  • Be aware. Monitor your reputation with tools to track who is talking about your brand keywords and respond appropriately.
  • Be prudent. Measure your marketing spend, invest in areas that work best, and learn from case studies that have worked.

Most importantly, I’ve found that perhaps the best way to leverage these new channels is to use them to build upon proven traditional marketing techniques. So continuing to optimize for search engines, engaging consumers with valuable content, and growing social media networks may provide the best surf in the current surge.

Neena Needel is founder and Principal of Point2Point Group (www.point2pointgroup.com). If you would like to continue the conversation, post a comment or send a message to neena@point2pointgroup.com.

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about neena gupta needel

In marketing, a brand touchpoint refers to every opportunity a company has to impress its brand upon its consumers. I hope my thoughts on these pages will help to connect my ideas with others who share a passion for marketing and communication.

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