I became interested in social media marketing as a blogger. In particular as a search marketing blogger who recognized the force that consumer generated media in the SERPs plays in purchase decisions and brand perception.
Now, higher/more-ardent-in-tone SERP listings shouldn’t be your sole reason for participating in social media marketing, but this little tidbit should certainly perk up your ears:
“More than 25 percent of search results on Google for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to consumer generated content…”
Sure, Garrett, I can hear the unconvinced saying, but those are the world’s largest brands. You’re not going to have consumer generated content about every dime store mom and pop company on the internet.
Point taken (though if you’re exceptionally good… or bad… you can bet your butt that you’ll have consumer generated content about you). So here’s another little tidbit:
“CGM has spurred 24 percent of [surveyed] consumers to alter decisions about a vehicle purchase or travel reservation.”
Also, Yahoo found in a recent study that four in ten people evangelize brands online: “The study found that 40 percent of the respondents were ‘brand advocates,’ defined by the report as ‘adventurous opinion leaders who are socially well-connected, express their opinions and viewpoints and continually discover new content online,’” (MVox)
So there are some numbers – consumers ARE swayed by the thoughts and opinions of social media.
THIS why we hear from Proctor and Gamble that “marketers no longer control all of their touchpoints with consumers, so companies have to learn to “let go,” according to Kent Oldham, Proctor & Gamble’s associate director and GBS consumer view solutions manager.” (Mvox)
Also, this is why we hear from Andy Beal reports that “Many companies are contributing a few thousands to tens of thousands per month on developing programs that are designed to reach out and join the online communities.”
So for those wondering where all the social media metrics are, my answer to you is to strategize for your clients and develop the campaigns that will generate metrics for those to follow in your footsteps. Look at Social Media Marketing as the experimental R&D of your “marketing portfolio” – make small, affordable investments in personnel and strategy and just see what happens.
The hallmark of this mode of marketing will be creativity and authentic conversations with consumers. Stuff like Digg bait will work for awhile (and ValleyWag even has a column called DiggBait, with posts targeting that monster of traffic generation), but at the end of the day social media marketing will build sustainable growth only so far as you’re empowering the community of your customers.
Oh you great unconvinced! You want tactics for how to effect change in your “social rank?” Hit me with hypothetical client situations and I’ll hit you back with tactics for how I’d build a campaign.