Social Media Vs Google

Nobody can deny that the growth of Social Media in recent years had impacted on most people’s lives, in the respect that most people have heard of it but don’t necessarily know what it is, or what it does. People don’t use it all of the time.

It’s important to differentiate Social Media from other forms such as Direct Marketing, Print, Blogging and S.E.O

As Facebook has approached the 700 million mark worldwide that’s a voice that most Marketers should take seriously, but in my opinion sparingly.

As it’s a relatively contemporary form of media. It didn’t exist 7 years ago and marketing worked fine, just because we have a captive audience it doesn’t have to be the be all and end all of Marketing Communications and where we should invest alot of our time.

When often explaining Search Engine Optimisation (S.E.O) to non-technical people, We often say that there’s no such thing as the Internet (physically) there’s a seamless connection of Websites, Servers Search Engines – creating links that people use to find information that’s relevant.

Therefore the task of the online marketer is to connect these together and understand them.

Social media to me is more environmental – i.e. hence the word ‘Social’ whilst these networks have defined their own characteristics consequently so does their content (user generated).

Let’s have a look.

  • Facebook for friends,
  • Twitter for a quick read for people that I don’t know, but do choose to opt-in
  • LinkedIn for professionals getting noticed and connect to other colleagues

All have the same in common; they’re pretentious in their own right – in terms of people trying to get noticed or display behaviours that don’t normally reflect the individual’s persona.

Does the information held within this sphere have a level of authority?

Yes but to a lesser degree then other forms of communications, I hope a book or the spoken word continues to be more important.

Furthermore there are other risk factors that need to be considered, the social footprint it’s not a reflection of the entire business. You can’t control what’s being said on social media it would take a lot of labour intensive work to keep an eye on.

So perhaps it’s place is as a newer form of ‘New PR’ / ‘Guerrilla Marketing 2011’ which can be reactive or strategic.

In commercial terms Social Media is useful to gain some measureable engagement, but so does the cash register.

I was once asked by a client to create him a brand that can be measured to have 1 million in brand equality in 3 years. So much so that it could be put on the balance sheet.

He later asked me to create a website that had one purpose and one only, to have an average time on site of 4 minutes. Again I said it was almost impossible based on search volume. His thought was that he would get a deeper level of engagement from the selected. At a push we agreed on 2mins (reluctantly) Brand engagement can take may forms.

I understand that companies like Coca-Cola are now measuring their success based on the amount of liquid consumed on planet earth per person! They’re going up against water! Therefore their communications strategy would be more geared towards brand engagement.

So in summary tactical engagement from a content level is different depending on the defined communications objectives.

I still believe that Marketing should be planned and segmented! into various practices such as;

  • Market Planning (P.EST. / S.T.P)
  • Research – both qualitative and quantitative,
  • Communications – Messaging, Media etc and Branding – thought feel touch.

So how does Social media enable accurate measurement?

In summary

It’s environmental, as a form of inbound marketing it can help to support the Customer Lifetime Value, it’s a touch point – A voice for your brand which shouldn’t be used in isoloation isolation, neither depended on too much, as it does carry a cost in terms of time and energy where other forms of direct advertising  have proven tobe more effective.

Social media isn’t applicable to every business, regardless of what some search engines are trying to push currently, people often just need to find relevant information and don’t need to engage with Social Media to show a like for a brand or product or service.
Google post rank may become a ranking factor, but a consideration no more than page rank, as there are a further 197 ranking factors that need to be considered.
(Update, this was written in 2011 and before Google Plus!!)

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