Today, Leonard Sipes posted a narritive in GovLoop ; a nich social marketing wateringhole that focuses on the Federal space. My take-away from his post was that social marketing is cheap and necessary – thus everyone should be doing it … just hire community college students to do it for you.
The social web is the wild west. Your organizations reputation is out there to be discussed, commented upon, and banged around like a piniata. Being able to write FBML and manage a tweet deck and having been on facebook since it was MySpace does not make you a marketer, the same way that my owning a scalple does not make me a surgeon.
Consumers are stalked, targeted, algoed, re-targeted, sliced, diced and delivered in way that ten years ago, only an evil genius would have imagined. The force unleashed when technology and branding colided is evoloutinary. The massive consumer shift from hunting and gathering on the web to reliance on casual constellations of people exchanging information ala the watercooler is a profound, and at the core is an idea of trust and respect – the new digital comodity.
Marketing success comes from sophisticated strategies that involve harnessing the power of social media. Deftly managing consumer demographics, trends, behavior, user experience, value propositions, branding, messages and the two way conversation that is at social medias core are the skills that required to win in this space. Further, strategic messages are amplified effectively with orgizational policies that govern the social engangement that most of your staff is already doing. Listening is vital and understanding the scalability of successful campaigns are not just mental excercises.
I caution industry from investing too much time into a “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” social media strategy. I am not knocking Community College Students – there are a couple at my house now painting. Reach out to marketing experts to help guide the messages and deliver a high value, relevant user experience that creates affinity. Anything less is throwing your energy into the cocophany of noise that consumers are tuning out at alarming rates.
Or, just give away a lot of free stuff. But if you do, understand the difference between being popular and being relevant.