The Five Essential Elements of Effective Social Media Marketing

The Five Essential Elements of Effective Social Media Marketing

Reader Comments (48)

  1. All great points — I’d just add that most of all, Social Media Marketing is effective just because of the fact that the technology is effective enough to begin engaging people according to their own behavior and thought patters within their peer group — not as a workaround to ‘that’s how the system works’

  2. In 1994, a friend of mine said, “Without links there is no web.”

    Another friend replied, “Without conversation, there are no links to share.”

    We all worked at CompuServe at the time. The online world was exploding and we were watching as that very precious online commodity called -conversation- began die.

    One thing that made CompuServe special (besides the hefty price tag) was the community built around the conversations taking place in the forums. The best forums were not just message boards, they were communities with moderators who knew how to work a room much in the manner you describe above.

    I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see conversation come back to the forefront again.

    Great post, Brian!

  3. Wasn’t it 10 years ago cluetrain was published? I recall being at an InternetWorld conference in Los Angeles when it first came out.

  4. Well said Brian. Conversing about conversation… incestuous? Yes. Necessary? If you want to actually figure out the method of this social media hysteria, absolutely. And I think that is what’s going to make the difference between those that have an impact and those that don’t.

  5. It amazes me the amount of times I have come across disparaging comments posted by users regarding a product a service, and no answer from the company!! I always think, shouldn’t that be someones job, to scan these conversations, and respond? And i mean really respond, not put out some stiff press release.

  6. Great, awesome, excellent post. A wonderful reminder about how so many, myself included, still get it wrong sometimes about the real power and benefit behind social media marketing. Bring on the conversation!

  7. I have to be the curmudgeon here.

    The post is EXCELLENT. But it seems to me that these points apply to all internet marketing, and in some cases offline marketing as well.

    I continue to love the concept of social media marketing but wonder why we had to give it a unique name. It’s what we’ve been doing for hundreds of years…

  8. Social Media Marketing has been around for a long time.

    In my opinion…

    Using the Internet as the media to “carry the conversation” and be interactive with your audience is simply the “Web” developing into its fullest potential as an interactive media form.

  9. It really is important what people say about your company, rather than what your company says. Who would one rather believe, hundreds of customer reviews? Or the company. If their is a conflict of opinion, then of course most, if not all consumers, would side with their peers. Nice work!

  10. @Ian, IMO, the primary difference with SMM is the potential for many-to-many distribution of your content.

    Absolutely, most of the content and techniques that work in IM and offline will also work in SMM. (Sometimes some tweaking is necessary, the “rules” are a little different in each space.) But the architecture of the tools makes the distribution look different.

    @Joseph, I feel the same way. What’s labeled as “social media,” for me, is just the natural maturing of the ‘net. Not that the process is complete (I’m not sure we’ve even reached Ugly Adolescence yet), but these patterns have been in place from the beginning.

  11. Great article – many people are apprehensive about embracing social media marketing as it is hard to measure. However if done properly, it can be VERY effective – people are just calling it quits these days due to improperly implementing it.

  12. Social media marketing is just word of mouth, but at the speed of the space shuttle. To diss it prematurely is to toss your hammer in the garbage dump just as you start to build the house.

    Good post. First, I agree that there are few people within any given market who want to “interact” with a brand. The cool thing is that those few who do are usually market influencers, those who will use their own communication skills (on blogs, MySpace, etc) to tell stories about your brand, good or bad. So social media for influencer communication alone is worth the effort.

    Second, the news media read corporate blogs. ‘nough said.

    Third, one of the positive developments stemming from Cluetrain and other movements demanding authenticity is that even corporate leaders are letting their hair down a bit. This informal realism helps readers of blogs relate to the brand through a real person, who is probably (if the blog is well done, see point 5 above) more interesting than the brand he/she represents. A little of the personality that comes through the blog rubs off onto the abstract brand, and both the professional writing the blog and the brand benefit.

  13. Excellent insights — social media marketing is in its infancy at best, and bloggers are working out the bugs and redefining the arena as they go. It’s pretty cool to be aware of this evolving new landscape.

    Also: Your remark that many of these conversational elements associated with Web 2.0 were created by direct marketers many moons ago — as a vet from the direct marketing world, I have always found may similarities between good DM writing and good web writing — you have to grab your audience in 5-seconds, the time it takes to get from a mailbox to a garbage can.

  14. It’s a balancing act. Social media is a part of the puzzle. But, excellent point about the conversation. It doesn’t matter where you have it, just have it. Tell your story in a way that encourages people to repeat it on the web or face to face.


  15. Well, I may need some guidance here. I’ve tried social media. I see where you can network and interact, I see where this can be a good thing. But, for me, I find it a hassle and frankly boring to keep up with people and their “conversations.” Am I missing something? I genuinely have no interest in using them. I try, then quickly loose all interest and never use the media site for months. I can’t imagine going online every night to Tweet or Plurk about anything and everything. I find that almost annoying. Is my perspective wrong? I want to do all I can to generate readers and customers, but is social media necessary?

  16. dang brian – great post man.

    i had a long talk to my friend about something similar last night. it’s very interesting to see how things will shake out in the next 6 months…

  17. Thanks for sharing these points, Brian. I just finished reading Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff over at Forrester, and they make some similar categorizations.

    I agree with those like John G. and Jim who point out social media marketing is in its infancy. A month ago, Twitter was all the rage. Now, half the world is fed up with it. But it is a new tool, nonetheless, and once we figure out how to use this particular tool, we’ll be better able to decide where it fits in our toolboxes.

    Great discussion all around.

  18. At the risk of being somewhat self-serving I have to point out that what makes this work is the ability to monitor social media (we’re in that space and offer a freemium version for anyone who wants give it a try). Tools are out there, originally designed for agencies but increasingly in use by all kinds of marketing people, that track sets of keywords across blogs, social networks, Twitter, UGC, etc. and provide the ability to analyze sentiment, demographics, influence etc.
    My usual caveat is: Don’t pitch, participate. And spend some time listening before you act.

  19. loved this one, I have been using facebook allot lately. I know I should be using myspace too but I really am not a fan of them anymore. Takes an hour to add a friend or load a page in general. Facebook has really been cool with how quick you can move around and once you create a main profile, you can also set up a store page that you can use for brand awareness, etc.

  20. Great stuff. Before social media a company would receive good and bad feedback via customer service telephone lines or the mail; where no-one else was able to share their experiences, etc. Now with social media, the platform is in place for people to interact with the company as well as other customers to share their experiences.

    Traditional media is still a viable option to get the word about your company and product but social media is where customers are and people will immediately rush to twitter or FB or a blog to share an experience about a company, especially bad, to get others to talk and not be alone.

    Failing to embrace social media is closed thinking and well will eventually lead to a closed business. Social media is here to stay just like the internet.

    @Adam is a perfect example of resistence. He has tried and is not interested in following conversations. Imagine a big company like a jetblue or pepsi not wanting to follow conversations and interact with customers.

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