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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Social Media: A Two Way Street

Chris Kortschot

More and more we are seeing companies trying to fit social media into their marketing initiatives. However, social media is a complex beast. It is still new and quite ambiguous but what almost every company THINKS is that this is the marketing engine of the 21st century.

Like many technology solutions in the past, companies are trying to understand how to use social media in their marketing mix. Without totally understanding how social media fits into their marketing plan, it can have disastrous or no results.

Managers and decision makers believe that they have to be in the game but do not at all understand the process of getting there. What many do not understand is that social media is a two way street. If you do not give to Web 2.0 it will not give to you.

Social media is about connecting with people in a meaningful way. If you are trying to connect with people in a completely self serving way then I’m afraid you have missed the point. Give your web audience something of value. Something that people will want to read or view as opposed to having to trick or force them into it.

Traditional media never really gave the consumer any power. It was based upon a ‘push’ strategy. Pushing (or forcing) ideas upon others. Traditional media wasn’t interested in finding out more about the consumer – they assumed they already knew. Everyday there are greater challenges for marketers who force their audience into viewing their content. PVR’s are widely used, radio presets allow for easy escape, and humans have become amazing at filtering out unsightly billboards.

The next step in marketing is creating communications that people want to view as opposed to being forced into it. The soon-to-be infamous Old Spice campaign is a perfect example of an ad series that people genuinely want to watch. There is no reason to skip over it because it is quite simply as enjoyable as most programs on TV today.

The main message is this; marketers who try harder to force their target into viewing their content are doing so in vain. Whether you deliver value in the form of humor, information, or general interest, make sure your communications have something for everyone.

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