Social Media for the Masses

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woman_blogs_small.jpgADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — As the number of social networkers and Twitter-ers continues to grow, advertisers and marketers often find themselves employing tactics such as setting up a “Fan-page” on Facebook, posting tweets on Twitter or developing applications to attract consumers to their brand.

But all of these tactics ignore a critical player in the online marketing game—blogs.

The fragmented nature of social networks is also a factor when considering which strategy will be most successful in generating positive ROI. By focusing on one or a handful of social networks, marketers are placing limitations on the reach of their brand and message.

Instead, brands need to revisit the original form of social media – the blogosphere – to reach the masses. Having evolved into a reliable source of information for consumers, blogs play a bigger and more important role for marketers than ever before. Bloggers allow marketers to successfully engage consumers around their brand through countless outlets including the micro-blogs that are essential to giving everyone a “voice.”

There have been a recorded 77.7 Million unique visitors to blogs versus 41 Million visits to Facebook and 77 percent of active Internet users read blogs. These statistics indicate that visits to blogs far outweigh visits to social networking sites.

The fragmented nature of social networks is also a factor when considering which strategy will be most successful in generating positive ROI. By focusing on one or a handful of social networks, marketers are placing limitations on the reach of their brand and message.

Increasingly, consumers are turning to blogs for news, reviews and recommendations. Trust in “a person like me” has tripled, from 20% to 68% from 2004 to 2006. Marketers still wary of letting outside sources control their brands should keep in mind that most word of mouth is positive.

Across all of Bazaarvoice UK clients, 88% of product ratings are 4 or 5 stars out of 5. According to Society for New Communications Research (May 2008), 74% of those polled agree—including 14% who strongly agree—that they choose companies and brands based on what others say online about their customer service experiences, the survey shows.

There is a four-part equation to successfully reach the masses through social media.

In working with the blogging community, you are taking a step toward reaching the Nirvana of social marketing. There are four, equally valuable parts to achieving this—consumer generated content, third party validation, social media and search results. All four of these effects occur via outreach to bloggers; in other words, they do not stand-alone. The implication is that their net effect is greater than the sum of their parts, as is their benefit to your brand.

PART ONE: Consumer Generated Content Blog posts, comments, reviews and ratings are just a few examples of the types of consumer generated content that can help you build buzz around your brand. Brands can also re-purpose the content to help in their own sales and branding efforts. By attributing it to the source, brands help drive traffic to the blogs and confirm the credibility of the third party validation.

PART TWO: Third Party Validation Engage in meaningful conversations about your brand with bloggers and they in turn provide credible third party validation – resulting in the Google effect. To put it simply, the bloggers’ validation and unique content discussing your brand will be shared across social media outlets and platforms.

PART THREE: Social Media By successfully leveraging the influencers, it is possible to reach the Facebook, MySpace and other social media crowds with less risk and cost and much greater results than by targeting these sites directly.

PART FOUR: Search Results As the frequency and quality of the blog posts mentioning your brand increase, so do your search results. It’s commonly stated that blog actually stands for “better listings on Google.”

The combination of these four elements of an influencer marketing campaign is the formula for achieving the results you want from your program.

In the end, a strategic word of mouth blogger-engagement program is a necessary component to a broader contemporary marketing plan and can help ensure ROI. Even brands that have yet to officially implement a social marketing strategy are more often that not being discussed, in one way or another, online. It’s up to you as representatives of your brand to effectively leverage the power of the blogger to raise brand awareness, affinity and, ultimately sales.

— Express your opinion, comment below.

7 COMMENTS

  1. we’ve seen a big increase in blogging lately, not just with individuals but with businesses realizing the value and ease of communicating with their customers thru a quality blog!

  2. […] When marketing, don’t forget about blogs: With all the hype surrounding social-networking sites, it’s easy to forget how integral blogging is to a successful social-media marketing effort. Reaching out to bloggers can create all four essential components of a great social-media marketing push: User-created content, positive third-party feedback, search results and social networking. Source: ADOTAS  […]

  3. Chris

    It’s great to see bloggers (like yourself) qualify the effects of social media on the marketing process. I would love to see some journalists document real quantifiable measurements of the return on investment in social media optimisation. That evidence would be truly convincing when selling the service to clients.

    Keep up the good work!
    Scott :)

  4. […] When marketing, don’t forget about blogs: With all the hype surrounding social-networking sites, it’s easy to forget how integral blogging is to a successful social-media marketing effort. Reaching out to bloggers can create all four essential components of a great social-media marketing push: User-created content, positive third-party feedback, search results and social networking. Source: ADOTAS  […]

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