If you’re engaged in social media marketing or about to take the plunge, any words of wisdom from Tamar Weinberg - social media and viral marketing expert, freelance writer and hugely successful blogger – are worth a few minutes of your time.
Her new book - The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web – which we got wind of on…..you guessed it….Twitter!……looks like it’s going to be a winner, so through the power of email - I’m in London, she’s in New York - we connected to address a few burning questions below:
Define “Social Media”
Social media is, quite simply, the collaborative tools used for communication. It relates to the media -- that is, those storage/transmission tools that relay data -- but refers to that which allows users/members to be social and interact with one another. That said, social media in the online world relates to any online application that empowers two or more people together. In the age of the social Internet, we refer to the tools and content that are created by people using these interactive technologies as "social media."
Some brands feel it’s too late to get involved in Social Media Marketing. Have they really missed the boat?
Nope! The beauty of social media marketing is that it's never too late to become involved. People are talking about you and it's better late than never to respond.
But there's more. In terms of client acquisition, social media makes it possible to look at what people are doing and saying and seeing if you can provide superior support even if the particular customer is not referring to you. I discuss this phenomenon -- on how a Comcast employee vied for a Verizon customer's patronage -- in my book. Even if you don't want to dive in, you can use social media technologies to learn about what people are saying about you, and perhaps more importantly, your competitors. You can definitely glean a lot from that! (Of course, if you're silent, nobody is going to stop talking about you, so what are you afraid of?)
In many ways online channels/publishers were consolidating and it was getting easier to manage traditional web marketing – search, display, email etc. Social Media has crushed that idea so where should companies start and what should they concentrate on?
That's hard to say. The conversations can be happening everywhere or only in some concentrated communities depending on the business. Each business should really start researching where the conversations about their businesses take place and involve themselves after studying the landscape and understanding what is expected of them in these communities. Don't jump right in; listen and craft a plan of attack first.
How should we be measuring success in a social world?
Again, there's really no one-size-fits-all answer for this. There are a few things you can look at, but the important thing to notice is it depends on your goals. Social media ROI is rather difficult to measure because you can't always quantify the quality of an interaction, and many people are looking for numbers and pretty little graphs. That said, as part of measuring success, you can look at sentiment and see if it improves. You can also take a look at reach, frequency/traffic, influence, conversions/transactions, and sustainability. I go into depth on these terms in the book, but you may not necessarily need to hit every single goal -- it depends on your specific strategy and what you are trying to accomplish as you dive into social media marketing.
How do you see customer/company relationships developing over the coming years and what technology should/could be waiting in the wings to create even more meaningful connections?
Interesting that you ask this. I recently blogged about one of the facets that I expect to see grow: customer service. I feel that given the fear for negative press, companies should really give their customers valuable experiences in their dealings with support.
I also see more companies jumping into the waters of social media for survival. If not for actually involving themselves in social media, I have the expectation nowadays that all companies should at least be reached via email and respond in a respectable amount of time (within 1-2 business days).
I know this may sound pretty simple and obvious, but I was just looking at a few high profile websites a few weeks ago and they only had a phone number listed. For those of us who don't like the phone (and there are a lot of people nowadays in that boat, thanks to social media), companies should consider accommodating their customers who use the Internet. It's really not a stupid thing to adopt internally at all.