I’m not going to sit here and be so pretentious as to assume that I know what the landscape of Social Media Marketing will look like 3 years from now. Social Media is evolving right in front of us, often times with us, as a response to our needs and wants as a public. The simple truth is that Web 2.0 is a rapidly shifting entity where hot trends and major players change as often as its users update their posts. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that there is no such thing as a Social Media Expert; enthusiasts,sure; professionals absolutely; and certainly advocates, but none can truly claim expertise. Here, however, is what we as professionals and enthusiasts know for certain about the present and future of Social Media marketing.
Technology is being developed at a daily rate to integrate and simplify how it is we post content to multiple channels, as well as analyze the metrics of how that content is performing. These are our attempts as businesses to make social marketing a cost-effective tool that can be macro-managed. While these tools are important and essential in today’s world of infinite Social channels, they should not be the sole focus of marketers in the Web 2.0 age. We should focus on engagement and our audience, because they alone determine the future of Social Media.
For too long traditional advertisers approached marketing as a way to impart their will on the consumers, and almost force them to buy something they neither wanted or needed. In today’s world of marketing all of that is changing. People recognize when advertising is disingenuous and subsequently disconnect. Web 2.0 needs to be about the audience from a true point of view, the brands who flourish will be the ones who display true transparency of their business and motives. We must realize that with everyone being given a platform where thier voice can be heard, our goal as a company must be to satisfy the desires of our customers. If we can learn to stop talking and start listening we will grow to understand the culture and become another member of that community.
No marketing approach is as powerful as word-of-mouth and with hundreds of millions of users worldwide Social Media is the new word-of-mouth.
Another key component in the marketing world of Web 2.0 is treating your employees as you would your consumers. Engage with them and make them a part of your social marketing process as well. If you can make your employees feel as though they are contributing more than just being another cog in the wheel they will reward you with loyalty and devotion. Henry Ford understood the importance of this and the value word-of-mouth had even through employees. He took a gamble that by paying his workers nearly triple the average salary for factory workers that they would in turn purchase his Model Ts. Ford’s bet paid off and his employees became walking, talking billboards, giving us one of the first examples of true word-of-mouth advertising.
lastly in the world of engaging, content is king. You must be intereting and original. There has to be real value and sincerity in what you are putting out there. It’s not enough to just go out there and put a coupon every third Tuesday of the month and hope it works. The social community wants to know who it is they are buying from on a very human level. They want to have conversations and know that a company wants to hear what they have to say. In closing, I would like to remind everyone that in the world of Social Media if you are not engaging and ever-adapting, then you are essentially dying on the vine.