Social media marketing is an area that I am very interested in. It took me awhile to get into the game, and now I am enjoying connecting with people in Facebook and LinkedIn. But I am still learning the ropes as to how to use these Web 2.0 websites to market a business and connect with customers.
That’s why I was happy to discover the book “Advertising 2.0: Social Media Marketing in a Web 2.0 World” by Tracy Tuten. The book is an overview of how social media and virtual worlds works, and how these sites can be used to engage users to a brand and to market the business.
At cursory glance, the book offers a theoretical and technical guide to social media marketing (as opposed to a practical how-to guide) with chapter titles such as “Socialcentricity and the Emergence of Social Media Marketing.” Ugghh … too technical for my morning brain. But after several days of hesitation, I grabbed the book and much to my surprise, enjoyed it.
The author separated the various types of social media — social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, virtual worlds such as Second Life and MTV’s Virtual Worlds, youth oriented virtual worlds such as Webkidz and Club Penguin, social news media and bookmarking sites, consumer-generated advertising, consumer product reviews and alternate reality games. According to Ms. Tuten, Web 2.o communities allow for a number of promotional possibilities:
- Build brand awareness
- Maximize cross- and within-media integration
- Research consumer behaviour
- Develop ideas for new marketing strategies
- Drive traffic to corporate websites
- Increase site stickiness, extending the brand message’s exposure time
- Garner publicity from news coverage of social media tactics
- Improve search engine rankings (due to organic links)
- Build awareness of the brand
- Enhance the brand’s reputation and image
- Encourage message internalization
- Increase product sales
- Accomplish marketing goals with efficiency
- Engage customers in a brand experience
Recognizing that each social media websites have unique characteristics, the author then discussed the opportunities for marketers to build brand engagement for each site. What I liked best though are the concrete examples she gave of companies who have successfully used (as well as those who have failed) these social media platforms to advertise and market their businesses. For example, IBM invited 300,000 people to participate in a product brainstorming session in Second Life.
If you are thinking of embarking on social media marketing, the author provided a number of questions to guide you:
- Does the culture of social media fit your brand’s positioning or fit with how your brand wishes to be perceived?
- Do you know where online your customers and prospects are? There are many social media communities. A brand must be able to locate its target audience in the social media landscape.
- Are the relevant communities open and welcoming to brand participation? What opportunities exist within each community for brand promotion?
- Do you have the resources of time and money to commut to the campaign?
- Do you have a hook, a conversation starter, a point of engagement – something that will inspire interaction with your brand?
- Are you willing to take risks?
Read the following articles from Ms. Tuten and excerpt of her book to learn more about social marketing
- “Lessons Learned from Second Life”
- “Shedding Light on Dark Marketing and Alternative Reality Games (ARG)”
- Friendvertising: Advertising and Brand Building With Social Networks