There’s no doubt at this point that social media marketing is here to stay and will continue to be an integral part of a holistic online campaign. In the news this week we get an other indicator of how import the social sphere is, on Monday Larry Page one of the original founders of Google stepped back in the role of acting CEO and announced today to employees that bonuses will be based on how well they integrate the Social web into their products. Then we saw the release this week of the “+1” button Google’s answer to Facebook’s Like or Recommend Button you see everywhere now.
Google is starting to remind me of how Microsoft struggled for years playing catchup with Google, they missed the boat on search and web based services as a whole I think and we now see the result as Google is still the dominant search engine. But in the last couple years Facebook has turned into a real Goliath of it’s own and I’m sure has Google very nervous that it has also missed out on creating it’s own social network. I think Google can still pull something off, perhaps a thinner “social layer” as Google puts it that is associated with the the Google accounts, gmail, and it’s other products that require a Google account. I think the key is for them to tie social into search as search and email, BUT I don’t think the social elements to the future Google will not necessarily be Google’s version of Facebook, but we’ll see maybe they will try to relaunch Google Buzz again or some other equivalent, either way it will have to be tightly integrated with their search and email products for it to be adopted widely I believe, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next couple years.
I think the real question now is not should we do Social Media Marketing, but HOW do we do it and do it well, people are searching for case studies and examples to emulate in their quest to succeed in this new medium. I think some marketers are a bit mislead into thinking that social media is going to drive direct sales and be some sort of replacement for search marketing and other forms of sales campaigns, many are disappointed with this approach as it’s not really the right mindset for social media, see it as a supporting element to your other efforts. Social media is great for keeping close ties with existing clients and strengthening the good will your brand brings to them and prospective clients that are researching your products and services, but to use as a direct sales channel probably isn’t the best use of this medium, unless you consider re-selling to existing clients through this medium as “direct sales”. Also SMO social media optimization, helps support directly and indirectly your SEO search marketing efforts as I explained in a previous post, and now possibly even your paid Adwords ads with the +1 button.
One thing is for sure, many people including myself initially didn’t know what to think of Social Media a few years ago, but it started to become clear quickly that there was something to it, and now we see it’s now become an even more important aspect in the internet ecology that marketers most adopt and integrate into their overall online campaign or they’ll be missing the “social boat” that’s left the dock.
Are you currently leveraging social media marketing? If so how’s it working for you so far and what tactics and strategies are you using? Would love to hear from you!