Debra Aho Williamson will be speaking on Earned Media, the Real-Time Web, Twitter Automation, Lead Gen & Social CRM at the ad:tech SF “Marketing Masters” series.
Here's a Q&A between Debra and Susan Bratton, Marketing Master of the Social Media track, covering her latest insights.
You recently published 8 "Insight Briefs" on Social Media at eMarketer. What were the topics and some of the key findings you can share?
Every day, businesses want—and need—to know more about social media marketing. They want to know how to do it, how to measure it, how to manage it and where it’s going. The Social Media Insight Briefs answer the most common and most pressing questions that businesses have about social media marketing.
The eight briefs covered these topics:
- 10 Best Practices for Success with Social Media
- Social Media Marketing by the Numbers: Key Stats, Trends and Indicators
- Five Reasons Why Marketers Need to Have a Social Media Strategy
- Where Does Social Media Fit Within an Organization?
- What You Need to Know About Earned Media
- Seven Guidelines for Achieving ROI from Social Media
- Social Media Misfires: How to Head Off Trouble Before It Hits
- The Future of Social Media Marketing
You wrote, “In 2010 and beyond, a substantial portion of marketers’ expenses will go toward creating and maintaining a fan page, managing promotions or public relations outreach within a social network, and measuring the impact of a social network presence on brand health and sales. Paid advertising will not be the primary focus, but it will serve to drive traffic and engagement with the larger social network presence.” How does this bode for Facebook revenues?
Facebook is developing several revenue streams so that it is not solely dependent on brand advertising. It already gets a healthy portion of its revenue from its self-serve ad system, where advertisers can buy ads targeted toward various demographics. It is also working toward establishing concrete revenue from virtual gifts and e-commerce.
When marketers build a presence on Facebook, they don’t necessarily have to buy advertising on Facebook to be successful. They can send messages to fans via the News Feed. They can buy advertising on other Websites and in other media to drive traffic to their Facebook page.
In the long term, advertising will still provide a portion of revenue for social media sites, but I believe the strongest business models in the future will incorporate analytics. What marketers will ultimately crave from social media marketing in the future is information. They will want information about their customers, certainly, but even more so about the thousands or millions of noncustomers whose opinions are being shaped by the social interactions and commentary of others.
When do you think Twitter will start to generate revenue?
Twitter will start generating revenue this year, but it’s anybody’s guess how successful it will be. Search seems the most realistic as a revenue generator. There will be challenges, however: How does a marketer insert itself into a short, time-sensitive conversation without disrupting the flow of that conversation and alienating the user?
In 2010 specifically, it will be the social media marketing year of _______________."
MoLoSo: The intersection of mobile, local and social. Social media marketing will soon showcase that where you are is nearly as critical as who you are. Mobile marketing, social media marketing and local marketing will come together, providing new opportunities for businesses to reach people. Mobile provides an always-available connection, social adds context from friends and associates, and local offers proximity.
The one thing that's fundamentally broken about social media marketing is ___________________."
I don’t think there’s any one thing that is fundamentally broken about social media marketing. Look how far we’ve already come in just the past few years. This year, based on the surveys I’ve reviewed, more than half of all marketers are using some form of social media marketing. And many of those have already made it an integral part of their company’s overall marketing strategy.
I do think there are areas that need work. One is the need for measurement tools that compare the effectiveness of social media marketing with other forms of marketing. Right now there are dozens of firms that will monitor and report on social media activities—Twitter passalongs, Facebook mentions, etc.—but it is difficult to assess the value of that activity relative to the rest of your marketing. Did those 1000 mentions on Facebook drive more traffic to my store than the ads I bought on other websites? Do the people who saw those Facebook mentions now have a better image of my brand than those who saw yesterday’s TV commercial? That sort of thing.
Standardized success benchmarks is another area that needs more development. In e-mail marketing, for example, you can compare your delivery rates, open rates and click rates against others in your industry. There really isn’t any of that in social media marketing. I am sure these things will be created over time, because they are really necessary.
You are going to be briefing the ad:tech attendees on five key areas of social marketing: Earned Media, Real-Time Web, Twitter Automation, Social Lead Generation and Social CRM. What do each of those terms mean?
The media landscape can be divided into three spheres: What you own, what you pay for and what you earn. Earned media is everything consumers are saying about your brand on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere.
The Real-Time Web is the steady stream of blog posts, tweets and status updates that appear in social media.
Twitter automation is the ability to schedule tweets, manage followers, track keywords, and deal with @replies and DM’s in an efficient way.
Social lead generation and Social CRM are two sides of the same coin. Social lead gen is using social media to find potential new customers. Social CRM is using social media to manage and interact with your existing customers, so they stay happy and satisfied.
Where is the sweet spot of opportunity for marketers in each of these segments?
Earned media: The goal for earned media should be to have authentic, sincere third parties talking about your brand and getting your message out for you, without relying on paid placements alone. To achieve that, marketers must establish three things in their social media fan base: trust (so that people will be more willing to believe what you are saying and feel comfortable spreading messages on your behalf); deep engagement (more than just clicking a button to become a fan, but interacting with the social media content in some way); and passion (finding those passionate, positive fans and reward them for talking about your brand).
Real-time Web: The real-time opportunity is only now emerging. It offers an incredible opportunity to marketers that can act quickly. If they notice a trending topic on Twitter, they might want to link advertising to it. If there is a subject generating a lot of discussion across the web, wouldn’t it be great to be able to buy advertising that reaches people who are engaged in those discussions, at that moment, on many different websites? These things are still in development, and they will be a true test of just how nimble marketers can be.
Twitter automation: The sweet spot for marketers using Twitter automation is that it makes it faster and easier to use Twitter. Social media can be an enormous time-drain; it is laborious to figure out what to post when, how to respond to queries and which followers to engage with. Marketers need to automate many of the tasks so they can focus on creating interesting content and promotions and measuring the impact on their bottom line.
Social lead gen and social CRM: Not many marketers are using social media for lead generation as of yet, but I believe there’s a decent opportunity. Think about it: every person who shares your brand message or talks about your brand on a social network is speaking to hundreds, thousands or even millions of potential customers. Marketing to those people should be top priority for companies.
The social CRM opportunity is much more clear: In many cases, the people who fan or follow you are already your customers, and they appreciate using social media to stay in touch with what your brand or company are doing. Marketers need to be very focused on these people because they are often their best brand advocates.
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