Social Media in 2009

Social Media

Marketing on the social web is basically a word of mouth advertising. Customers are going to buy your product not from advertisements, but through recommendations. The companies that understand the social web and know how to listen to customers , react and participatein the conversation are the ones who are going to be successful with their marketing initiatives and activities in 2009, and beyond.

Companies such as Dell, Comcast and even Ford have realized this, and are effectively using social media to benefit their brands.. These companies realize that the traditional marketing methods of one-way, one- sided communication simply do not work when applied to social media. But my main worry is still firms in Sri Lanka are not implementing these strategy.

The basic foundation and core aspect social media is, consists of the five C’s.

  1. Conversation

  2. community

  3. commenting

  4. collaboration

  5. contribution

These are the five fundamentals that companies and marketers must understand to be able to successfully market on the social media web. Most of the companies situated globally understood this and they adapted to a very strong social media strategy.

Social media marketing is the next logical step in a spiraling downward economy.

The world economy is operating worst. The housing market has gone very up, the unemployment rate continue to go like a sky rocket, Companies are cutting costs because of recession, and marketing budgets are the fi rst to be cut . So companies are looking for a best alternative cost effective method of advertising. The costly traditional and increasingly ineffective means of old school advertising are becoming outdated.

So the good news is the cost barrier is low for marketing in social media. It will not be an option for companies, but now a requirement to stake their claim in social media. In 2009 we will see a substantial amount of companies getting involved with social media marketing initiatives compared to the past year not only in other countries but also in Sri Lanka(Hope so) as well.

Simply having a static website is not going to cut it anymore in 2009.

These days companies are starting to tear the brick walls down and showing people that they are indeed human. Real people are telling real stories about the products.

This is expedited with what we can call the social add-ons of a website. User generated content ( Customer videos, Photos, product reviews, testimonials), implementing a real blog with a voice behind it ( probably your customer service representative), consumer forums, Discussion boards( allow conversation between customers) and most importantly going where their consumer base is, Facebook, Twitter and so forth But I think Sri Lankan firms operates online are focused more on Twitter and Facebook. All these arel about establishing and earning trust among customers. Brand credibility will also build in the process which will lead to a brand loyalty. The companies that understand their consumer’s behaviors online are ultimately the ones who will thrive in 2009 and they are the ones who will establish and maintain a competitive advantage.

The tools are only facilitators of the message. This will become quite clear in 2009 if it has not already.

Marketers and companies those who understand this concept will get the benefits of those. Most of the corporates have already established an online presence on twitter and other major social networks, but have not taken the time to use those correctly and effectively. They use thgis tools as a one way communication method, and completely no body wanted this. These tools need to be armed with the driving force behind people not the robots.

Social Media marketing is always a two way communication, using those tools effectively means the following aspects

  1. participating in the discussions,

  2. leading them, and reacting when necessary, and always

  3. showing your human side in the process. If your sole purpose is using these tools for list building

All these tools should be used to build meaningful relationship.

Those who get it will start to realize and understand the VOI (Value of investment).

The main thing is that Social Media is about conversation. Measuring the return on your social media marketing is not a perfect way to track. If you are using social media with themain purpose of making money, chances are you will fail. The main currency in Social Media is valued based on the created content and the relationship. The VOI is measuring value of the conversations. How many comments were left? How much buzz is happening on Twitter? How many back-links were generated in search engines? What blogs are talking about us? Etc

So it is time for us to develop the online presence through social media marketing. I’m not sure whether it will work in Sri Lanka because the familiarity of social media is growing but the opportunity lies with only Facebook.

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