For a few years now, social marketing mavens have been urging businesses to get on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and so on. Be there, or be left out is the rhetoric that’s been flying around. Inherent in this reactive mode of action are a few misunderstandings that are at the root of why a lot of businesses are likely to say that social marketing is ‘overhyped’ or ‘just isn’t working for them’.
- It’s about more than just social networking: A number of technologies are contributing to what Brian Solis likes to call ‘disruption’ – a disruption that is steadily reshaping the business landscape. These technologies include smartphones, tablet PCs and, yes, social media platforms that enable an unprecedented ease of creating, sharing and consuming content.
- It’s creating a new kind of audience: The cutting edge consumers who are changing their content consumption patterns with disruptive technologies don’t collect data or make decisions in the same way as traditional audiences. They pick up product reviews from peers, they use information services and apps that feed them with streams of relevant information, they tweet, blog and post about their product or service experiences.
- This audience needs a different kind of engagement: You can’t reach out to the new wired audience with tried-and-tested marketing gambits. They just aren’t interested. You have to offer them the kind of content-rich, interactive dialogue they are used to, on platforms that they prefer, or on a custom platform that reflects the kind of experience they expect.
- Your traditional audience still exists: And you still have to address them in the traditional way. But the tide is turning, and if you’re planning on long-term traction you have to step up to the new challenge: that of talking to an audience where everyone is used to being a broadcaster too and will talk back at you every chance it gets! If you don’t start adapting, the time will come when you go the way of the dinosaurs. To quote Solis again, ‘no company is too big to fail or too small to succeed’.
- You have to become the other: Engaging with the connected consumer isn’t a matter of guesswork or chance. You have to do the groundwork. Invest time into researching the new mindset now. Embrace it yourself; step into the shoes of the wired individual, embrace disruptive technology and see how disruption can be an engine powering your own success story.
So despite my alarmist title, it’s not about forgetting Facebook but about going beyond embracing new platforms for nebulous, me-too reasons. You can do more harm than good going about marketing in the digital landscape with the wrong mindset and working assumptions; take the time to understand the geography before exploring it!
i- Vista’s Digital Marketing team has been mapping the digital landscape – and drawing up conquest plans – for a while now. To benefit from out explorations, contact us!