Monday, October 19, 2009

What is Social Media Marketing?

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Social media marketing (SMM) uses social media platforms to positively influence consumers toward a company’s brands, products or services. In other words, the goal of social media marketing is to create a “buzz” online, so that complementary content about a brand, product or service goes “viral,” with consumer-generated media endorsements spreading like wildfire across the Internet (--think of a highly watched YouTube video extolling the virtues of a product or service).

It is not hyperbole to say that social media marketing is fundamentally changing the way businesses communicate with consumers. In fact, social media marketing has become so powerful it is now driving search engine results. Today, people are using highly accessible social media tools to find, create, and share content online. Social media enables people to collaborate and form consensus opinions, connecting and forming relationships in ways never before possible. This presents a new challenge and opportunity for business—to positively influence this ongoing conversation about the company’s offerings.

Think of it this way, social media marketing is the 21st Century digital “word-of-mouth” advertising. However, instead of discussing a company’s offering in person or over the phone, Internet users have turned to social media platforms to express their opinions. Popular social media platforms include blogs, (which can be found using blog search engines such as Technorati and BlogPulse), micro-blogs (e.g., Twitter and Jaiku), social networking sites (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn), video and image sharing sites (e.g., YouTube and Flickr), podcasts, bookmarking (e.g., and StumbleUpon), wikis (e.g., Wikipedia), and social network aggregators (e.g., Mybloglog and Plaxo).

Some useful resources for defining and better understanding social media

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Measuring Social Media Marketing Success!

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At some point, the decision to use social media marketing or convincing someone else to do so eventually comes down to justifying the expenditure of resources and time. This typically involves measuring the success of the effort. Measuring the effectiveness of using social media to promote a business can be done both qualitatively and quantitatively. Most people feel more confident and comfortable with numbers, so social media metrics dominate, such as Return on Investment (ROI), Web analytics, and other similar quantitative assessments.

The following resources provide a variety of useful methods and tools for measuring the success of social media marketing campaigns:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Social Media Marketing Training Needed Now!

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As the global recession wears on—cash-strapped companies continue to slash marketing, advertising, and public relations budgets and positions—with one highly notable exception—businesses spending on social media marketing has skyrocketed and continues to escalate at an unprecedented rate. The movement to social media has quite simply become a stampede, with social networks such as Facebook recently topping 300 million users, LinkedIn surpassing 40 million users, and Twitter, with 23.6 million users, grew by 900% over the last year!

According to the 2009 Digital Readiness Report, “…most organizations are considering hiring social media specialists.” However, despite the urgent, massive and growing need by business for social media marketing specialists, the number of people being educated in social media marketing falls far short of demand. Unfortunately, universities and community colleges have been slow to create social media marketing courses to meet this seemingly recession-proof career, leaving a vast educational vacuum and incredible opportunity for a forward thinking institutions to fill this gaping hole.