Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Internet v/s Social Marketing

The article gives a visual depiction of Internet v/s Social Marketing, published in Qatar Today Magazine - June 2011 issue.

Internet v/s Social Marketing 

In my previous post I had given few tips to convince your boss to adopt social media for commercial purposes. If you have managed to even partially convince your boss on introducing social/online media in your organization, the next step is to determine the possible ways of reaching your customers on the web. In the initial days of the web, one of the most common ways to advertise your product was by placing a banner ad on a website, or a pop up ad to get the attention of the website visitor. We have come a long way from those days and have more intelligent and less annoying ways of creating awareness for the product/services.

Internet Marketing is still one of the most popular ways to target your potential customers on the web. It is an enhanced traditional advertising campaign measurement with the addition of unique visitors, clicks, bounces, page ranks, keyword authority, link tracking etc.

Internet marketing is predominately focused around the following *terms: -

SEM (search engine marketing) - is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion
Cost per impression (CPI/CPM) - CPM for Cost per thousand impressions is another way to measure the worth of an online campaign.
Cost per click (CPC) - Advertisers pay the hosting service when the ad is clicked, to direct traffic to the respective website.
Cost per action (CPA) - the advertiser pays for each specified action (a purchase, a form submission, and so on) linked to the advertisement
SEO (search engine optimization) - is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via organic search results.

An online campaign is needed to spread awareness which can ultimately lead to sales. Some online campaigns are purely meant for awareness while other’s prompt the user to click on the banner ads, which direct them to a landing page that has a list of the products available for sale.
You need to help the internet user understand what he/she can expect post clicking an interactive banner. If the expectations are not met in the first few seconds, you have lost your prospective internet partner. You need to develop more interactive ads to get the attention of the person viewing the ad.

Internet has come a long way from Web 1.0 to evolving Web 3.0. We can associate these trends with the following terms: -

Web 1.0 = Content
Web 2.0 = Conversation
Web 3.0 = Convergence

At present we are in Web 2.0 but slowly progressing towards Web 3.0.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is another form of communication with your customers. I feel it’s all about Conversation. As a product manager if you are successful in speaking to your online audience in their language, you have won half the battle. It is dynamic, vibrant, emergent, compelling and insightful. Hence, Social Media Marketing (SMM) is not just a medium of communication but a place for marketers to understand its target audience.
Social Media as a conversation is not organized, controlled or in a form of an advertisement.
It is the conversation that takes place between Customers, Marketers, Employees, and Investors and web surfers.  On a larger scale, it’s the appeal of belonging in the group as you take action together. “l am trying this brand so why don’t you try it as well?”

Some social media tools that you could use for engaging the audience with your brands

Blogs - I don’t need to define ‘blogs’ for you, however, ensure you regularly update it.  Most corporate companies host blogs on their website. Alternatively you may use popular platforms like Blogger, Wordpress or Typepad.
Microblogging – Twitter is a classic example of microblogging. You need to engage your customers within the 140 characters. Companies use it as a customer service tool.  Check out Jaiku which is another popular microblogging website.
RSS - It a syndication format that allows websites and blogs to distribute their content as feeds to users.  Instead of having to visit the website, users can sign up for the feed provided by the website or blog and using an RSS reader or aggregators like Google Reader, Bloglines to access the feed.
Photo Sharing - Sites like flickr, picasa are popular photo sharing websites. One common technique used by online community a manager is to ask their subscribers to upload photographs on photo sharing websites and ask their friends to vote for the best photographs. Such competitions help the brand to reach out to non-consumers through their existing users.
Podcasts – It is a digital audio that is distributed via the Internet for playback on a user’s computer or portable media device. Link your podcasts to different websites and your blog and make special announcements via it.
Social News and Bookmarking - Social bookmarking allows web users to share their bookmarks of web pages on the Internet. You must have seen websites offering to share their article on sites like Delicious, Digg, Reddit etc are typical examples.
Social Networking – Facebook being the most popular social networking site can be used to engage customers by creating corporate pages and groups. Some other popular social networking sites are Ranren.com (No 1 in China), Myspace, Hi5, Bebo.

Setting the objectives: The SMM goals will be different for every business or organization. SMM can create brand awareness or build idea, increase visibility, leverage existing social media sites to the company’s advantage, help in creating a multi-pronged marketing strategy attract & motivate through Potential Customer Experience etc.

One thing that many digital marketers face difficulty is in measurement and the first step to measure is to set RIGHT objectives. The objectives should be in the interest of the organization and community.

To conclude both Internet and Social Media Marketing have their advantages. To have maximum impact on a campaign combination of both the marketing techniques can be infectious.  


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