Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sustaining a Brand Conversation: To Strategize, or not to Strategize, about Social Media? A Note to Brand Marketers

Why should you care about the Social Media industry beyond what you are doing in it? Why should you care about how it evolves?

You care about sustaining a Customer Centric Conversation with your customer. That's why.

You are already a step ahead of the competition if you are asking these questions.

Some might question why we need to think about market structures, channels, consumer behavior, and returns on investment in the Social Media industry. Fair enough. There is enough activity in the hyper-competitive Social Media market right now for folks to dive in and get a lot of the work done quickly in funky, interesting ways, while helping the market evolve as a byproduct. We could even discount research that discounts first mover advantage.

Recently, Facebook surged past MySpace in Monthly Unique Visitors. If that news made you wonder how you are impacted, or how your company's busy work in Social Media is impacted, you are asking the right questions.

If You want to sustain a conversation with your customer, without being distracted by the ebb and flow of the social media buzz around you, you know you want to tie in your social media tactics with strategic market insights.

Instead of steps that assist your journey toward an effective social media presence, your search leads you to information on how to get things done. Lets change that. Right here. Right now.

Here are four thought enablers that help you cut through the clutter to formulate a social media strategy.

The Interplay between Marketing and Social Media:

1. Marketing is currently following Social Media: What we define as conversational marketing right now, is just marketing catching up with social media. Social media can be abstracted as a process of developing new channels of communication. How you leverage these channels is driven by your brand. Marketing in these channels will mature when brands begin to consistently leverage the innovation in channels for improved resonance.

2. Marketing Future 2.0 goes beyond Web 2.0: Marketing has a few steps to take before it truly takes off, and leaves social media behind to become a platform. I will hold on my vision for marketing here.

3. The Social Media Industry is a Market: Social media will become a platform and will have a few dominant players like platform markets do. However, the innovation game is not over yet. While some players have taken an early lead and have shown the legs to innovate, social media tools have not reached a communication channel innovation plateau yet.

4. Value: Value, value, value! How do we justify social media spend to a corporate? How do we tie it into the brands, say, in terms of a Brand Equity Pyramid? This is the outcome of some ruminating on my previous blog here:

Needless to say, the note assumes that you already are pursuing social media opportunities for your brand. If you do not have your feet wet yet, you are welcome to read some of my previous posts below for some ideas- I would heartily welcome a conversation on those points of view.

This loops us back to the next post that started this train of thought, proving that Execution -> Metrics -> Strategy are not linear, but form a circular reference, and spiral into greater maturity as the industry matures. Therein lies the risk and the reward.

While I am at it, here's a blatant plug: please feel free to contact me for more! You know how to find me.

Psst... Watch out for my Twitter game- BigBirdBots!


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