Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on social media marketing and definitely makes some good pointers for your next client presentation. It starts off with the usual rant i.e. Web 2.0 offers a remarkable new opportunity to engage consumers, if only they knew how to do it. That’s where this article aims to help. It interviewed more than 30 executives and managers in both large and small organizations that are at the forefront of experimenting with Web 2.0 tools. From those conversations and further research, it identified a set of emerging principles for marketing in the Web 2.0 era:

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If you have time do read the full article otherwise here are the key points it tries to make (Thanks to Abhishek from IDEASMARKIT for the tip-off):

  • Web 2.0 tools can be used to do what traditional advertising does: persuade consumers to buy a company’s products or services.
  • Web 2.0 as a way to obtain consumer feedback and ideas for product development, the online community is much faster and cheaper than the traditional focus groups and surveys used in the past.
  • Blogs, wikis and online communities are among the tools that companies are most commonly using for marketing.
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Infact, it guides Web 2.0 Marketers through a 7-step approach to garner effective results from Social Media Marketing programs:

1. Don’t just talk at consumers — work with them throughout the marketing process: companies should use these tools to get the consumers involved, inviting them to participate in marketing-related activities from product development to feedback to customer service. (Read More)

2. Give consumers a reason to participate: Consumers have to have some incentive to share their thoughts, opinions and experiences on a company Web site…(Read More)

3. Listen to – and join – the conversation outside your site: …monitor relevant online conversations among consumers and, when appropriate, look for opportunities to inject themselves into a conversation or initiate a potential collaboration…(Read More)

4. Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell: When consumers are invited to participate in online communities, they expect marketers to listen and to consider their ideas. They don’t want to feel like they’re simply a captive audience for advertising, and if they do they’re likely to abandon the community…(Read More)

5. Don’t control, let it go: In an online community, every company needs to find an effective balance between trying to steer the conversation about its products and allowing the conversation to flow freely…(Read More)
6. Find a “Marketing Technopologist”: So who should direct a company’s foray into Web 2.0 marketing? A number of managers identified an ideal set of skills for an executive that go beyond those of a typical M.B.A. holder or tech expert. We coined the term marketing technopologist for a person who brings together strengths in marketing, technology and social interaction…(Read More)

7. Embrace experimentation: One Web 2.0 strategy does not fit all, and sometimes the best way to find out what’s best for a given company is to try some things out and see what happens. Blogs, wikis and online communities are among the tools that companies are most commonly using for marketing, but there are other ways to reach consumers…(Read More)

Along with above 7 steps, I think we missed out on the most important step of Social Media Marketing i.e. measurement metrics/tools (Point No. 8). Without effective measurement metrics, I don’t think any SMM programs will be successful. Though point no. 3 touches the point but it’s more important to design metric to measure the reach, scope of any SMM campaigns. It will not only help to understand the degree of engagement but also provides the stepping stone to understand which tool to use and which one to discard.
So what do you think will be the most important parameter or metric in your industry to measure degree of engagement of your customers?
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