Social Media is not just another channel or set of channels to add into your marketing mix. There certainly are tactics that could be deemed social media and you should probably roll them into any marketing plan that might include some of the traditional and expected forms of marketing. But social media is bigger than a set of tactics. Social Media is the platform for participation by your employees, customers and prospects.
Overused terms like “customer in control”, “On-Demand generation”, “Push to Pull” speak to the evolution marketing has undergone. The goals are the same. Acquire, retain, up-sell, cross-sell, build loyalty have not changed. It’s just that Social Media, as a platform not a tactic has fundamentally changed the way in which we do those things.
There are examples of extreme Social Media. Take for example Dave Balter, BzzAgent Founder & CEO who recently published The Word of Mouth Manual, Volume II. He chose to self-publish and then decided to practice what he preaches by pointing his network of BzzAgent word-of-mouth evangelists to the blogs. He also put the book in the hands of some influential bloggers, who could distribute free copies to their audiences, to see how fast and far word spreads -- as measured by downloads.
And then there are cases where Social Media is a tactic within a campaign. Take for example Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. He has plenty of TV spots, print and even on-line advertising. But the Obama campaign embraced Social Media as a platform. Look at my.barackobama.com, which itself is a sort of social network. Look who runs my.barackobama.com, Chris Hughes, one of the three co-founders of Facebook. Barack has made innovative use of crowdsourcing and has tapped into the massive crowd of supporters that have been generated through social media. He’s not just podcasting, but he tweets on Twitter, updates images on Flickr, has a MySpace and Facebook profile, Posts videos on YouTube & more. And then look at all the posts, groups, feeds and pages created by others about Barack. The qualities he cited to Time to describe his campaign — “openness and transparency and participation” are also the successful qualities of social media.
Image source: Flickrverse by GustavoG.