There’s Just One Catch About Social Media Marketing

1/26/2009

- Andrew Wetzler, President

There are a lot of things that make the Internet interesting and dynamic. One is that organic search has leveled the playing field with respect to companies of any size being able to compete against much larger organizations.  While it's harder today to make big organic strides due to the growth of the web and the increasing sophistication of the algorithms, it was not too long ago that businesses blossomed from scratch, in large part as a result of their SEO prowess (or luck).

Paid search enjoyed a similar trajectory, with the early entrants benefiting from lower bids and minimal competition. Analytics did not exist and not having it didn’t matter. For many marketers, the strength of the results could be easily spelled out on the back of a cocktail napkin.

It's a lot harder to run a profitable PPC campaign today. The quantity of variables that ought to be considered are far greater and, as a result, maintaining a lucrative campaign is more taxing.

Social Media presents a new and unique set of challenges.  Unlike SEO and SEM, advertisers are arriving much later to the party.  MySpace and the like had to attain a critical mass before advertising became viable. We are just beginning to get our hands around ways to effectively monetize those eyeballs.

The more compelling aspect of social media is that it has become the blankest piece of white canvas ever imaginable.  Every concept is new and nobody knows exactly what is going on.  The chance to standout is very legitimate, however that ticket to ride comes at a cost and what’s required is nothing like anything we’ve had to tackle before.

It could be argued that blog writing was the first test of a company's social media determination quotient.  Is the blog being updated a couple of times a week?  Is it being made available through all of the right channels? These have proven to be meaningful feats to accomplish.

Now comes Facebook, LinkedIn and the rest.  These are the online channels where people are spending a crazy amount of time today, so it's important to get an understanding of what's going on and establish a presence. Aside from the headaches of design, there is the bigger issue of engagement. That's the catch.

Engagement means that if you want to be involved, than you need to be involved.  Comment on blogs and forums – both your own and others in your industry. Create some video that can be uploaded to your site and on YouTube.  Twitter is the new black.

Just like any company can have a website, any business can have a Facebook page. The challenge is to figure out and implement a strategy that will make the page matter and engage your audience.

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