June 4, 2012 Michael Bickerton
It’s impossible to try and put down in words the social media sharing and marketing phenomenon that has developed over the last five years or so. Those of you over 35 who do not have profiles in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter should absolutely STOP reading and immediately sign up for an account with each of them.
Frankly, we talk about social media, we read about it, but the fact remains that you really need to SEE it, FEEL it, TOUCH it and TASTE it. Those involved in the digital space, to whatever degree, see the power of social media. If you’re still reading the newspaper, my advice is to cancel the newspaper and follow your favorite newspapers on Twitter, and then follow all the other news organizations.
Keep in mind, ink runs in my veins. I love to see, touch and feel printing. I spent endless hours in the camera room, the pressroom and the bindery. I know what it means to “paste up” something. I understand the power of print and the power of direct mail. However, the fact remains that at one point in history print was the inexpensive way to communicate. Like it or not, those days are over, plain and simple times have changed, regardless of your viewpoint. As it was pointed out to me clearly by a friend “The wagon wheel was a big seller at some point too”.
Moving forward, at this point in time I truly believe that email marketing is now the primary communication tool in your marketing toolbox. Email has so many benefits, and the biggest is that it allows me as a marketer to contact you directly, with my message, on my time. Like an arrow, I can get right to the heart of the matter. The power lies in the fact that I can measure each and every open and each and every click. Email marketing is truly measurable. In my view it’s the modern version of print.
The recent IPO offering from Facebook and the following dive of the stock price has certainly brought Facebook, and therefore social media, to the forefront. Additionally, and newsworthy was GM’s recent pull out of advertising on Facebook (which seems to have been a bit of power play according to Adage). The point is that you need to be involved and experiencing social media. Social media marketing is a MUST for every business and every organization.
So, given that you now have profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and know full well that as direct marketing professionals we appreciate that the fundamentals of marketing have not changed. The basics of attention, interest, desire and action (AIDA) are alive and well in the digital space. We can now begin to discuss and review social media and relevance of social media marketing and social media sharing.
To start, adults spend over 15 hours a week on the Internet. Webinars and podcasts are top resources for business education today. The development of Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, LinkedIn and the multitude of other Social Media applications such as Get Glue, Highlight, Pininterst, Eventful, Instagram, Viddy, Yelp, Tango and Path just to name a few, have and are directly impacting your marketing message. You must consider and accept that there is constant sharing and various ways of sharing by users in the marketing place. In fact every social media platform is another way for your consumers to interact and endorse you, your company and your brand, in a positive or the alternative.
The lesson? People are communicating like never before, in new ways every day, and in doing so are embracing, interacting and commenting on our marketing. This involvement is public, but notable to their friends, likes and followers.
This dialogue involving our brand and our companies is happening by the minute. The fact is, that social media users are involved, even if we as marketers and business people are not. I’ve said before that our digital footprints are being established with or without our input. We are dealing with an empowered consumer and empowered brand advocates, make no mistake here.
We are all familiar with the concept of sharing, “She told two friends and she told two friends and she told two friends and she told two friends and she told etc.” by Faberge and if not, you can do a search on YouTube to get a reminder.
Social Media is powerful, there are 150 Million LinkedIn members, 900 Million ACTIVE Facebook users and over 500 Million registered Twitter Users. The point being there’s a lot of activity on Social Media and therefore a lot of sharing.
It’s been suggested that 87% of people trust the referral of friend versus only 13% that trust advertising. Keep in mind consumers are no longer passive they are involved with the brands. As well, according to Morale, 68% of Facebook users were more likely to visit or purchase based on a positive Facebook referral.
Social Media is about connections, relationships, and people. Social Media provides the opportunity for people to belong and connect. We have the opportunity to read, see and hear. It allows us to share what we like and what’s worse share what we don’t.
Technology has rapidly changed our ability to communicate and connect; it’s impacting business, brands, charities, public service and even our politics. There are over 1 Billion “Smart Phones” and as such, this ability is on the move. Its impact to our marketing is the ability to define time and space as information is now portable and our abilities to communicate are extended with this mobility.
So, what is social media sharing? Friend-to-friend marketing? Why does it happen? We’re not sure, but there seems to be many reasons. The terms contribute, define, build are part of building ones social currency.
There are as many types of social media sharers as there are reasons. Types, altruists, careerists, hipsters, connectors, selective and boomerangs as defined by The New York Times Customer Insight Group and you can be sure there are others.
Socialmc2 allows your subscribers, your friends, your Facebook Likes, your twitter followers, your LinkedIn users to participate with you, by opting in, participating in your offer, downloading a coupon, sharing with their friends via Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and email, or all of them. Today, we recommend that you keep communications short, simple, easy to read, using strong call to actions, with humor if you can. Yet, keep your message single minded, with one purpose like an arrow to the heart, in general you have between three and eight seconds to engage.
A Socialmc2 program allows you to opt-in your email and social database. It allows you to gather data, it provides the opportunity to accept a donation, provide a coupon and even sell something. The ability to share and track influencers is built right in into the process. Marketing has come a long way.
Benefits of a Socialmc2 program – social media sharing
Sounds like direct mail, doesn’t it – yet extremely measurable.
So why Digital Marketing 101? As much as things have changed, marketing hasn’t changed. Your customers have changed! Going forward you, your company and your brand are required to change a well. It’s an open, honest, engaged and connected world. Your customers have a voice. They share the good and they share the bad. Your goal is to ensure that you give them something of value with regularity.
Keep in mind it’s a privilege when they allow you into their mailbox. It’s privilege when they friend you, like you or follow you. So give then something positive, give them something to amplify, to engage with, to share with. Social media sharing is personal. It’s participatory. It’s powerful.
Micheal Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, Toronto, June 2012