Last week I attended and spoke at IMC Vancouver. It was a nice little conference that featured a lot of different speakers from the SMX/SES shows. While my sessions focused on SEO, there were a number of panels that discussed social media marketing. I heard a lot of feedback from attendees praising the social media information, saying it was valuable and tactical advice.
When I came back to work I noticed this eMarketer article that highlights a Unisfair survey asking marketers what their top plans and priorities are for 2010. 60% of the marketers surveyed said they were going to focus on acquiring new customers. What I found especially interesting about the survey is that 75% said they plan to increase social media in their 2010 marketing efforts (vs. 51% who said they’d focus more on web search and SEO).
I also found this chart to be really interesting. It depicts which social networks marketers find most valuable:
Based on the survey and what I heard at IMC Vancouver, I think a lot’s been said about social media marketing lately. Namely:
- Social media success is multi-faceted. I still hear a lot of people touting Digg as a huge piece of the social media pie, yet only 1% of the marketers surveyed felt that Digg was the most valuable social networking tool. Yes, Digg is extremely beneficial from a traffic-driving standpoint and can bring links into your site. However, there are tons of other important social sites that are equally as valuable as Digg, especially if you’re looking to build relationships by networking and if you want to seek out and acquire new customers. Lots of people are finding value in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, so it’s important to cast a wide net as well as figure out where your time is best spent. Some people will get the most value out of Digg, while others benefit from networking on LinkedIn or CafeMom. It depends on what your goals are, where your audience is, and what’s the best, most logical fit for your brand.
- People want to hear about tactics, not have their time wasted with anything else. Mona Elesseily, the Director of Marketing Strategy for Page Zero Media, presented at IMC Vancouver and said that she was really impressed by the quality of social media information being given at the show. She mentioned that a lot of conferences are more basic and introductory when it comes to dispensing social media marketing advice, but at IMC people drilled down into specific tactics and shared valuable information. When a new(ish) marketing strategy like social media emerges, people want to know how they can use it to their advantage and to bring success to their business. They don’t want to waste time hearing about how “social media is the future!” and other pointless, fluffy claims and generic speak. They want useful, applicable advice on what they need to do on these sites in order to use them efficiently.
- Social media is being accepted as an important facet of marketing. More people plan to focus their efforts on social media than on SEO in 2010, and I think that’s because they see a clearer line that attaches social media to marketing than the one that attaches SEO to marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I see obvious benefits of SEO, but I think that to businesses, social media marketing is an easier and more valuable concept to grasp because it’s simply marketing across a new medium. It holds the same principles of marketing and customer interaction and networking and relationship building, only it’s over the Internet and using new websites and tools.
- Email campaigns aren’t dead! I know that email marketing is considered more old school while social media marketing is the NKOTB (that’s New Kid on the Block for those of you who weren’t adolescent girls in the early 90′s), but 49% of the marketers surveyed said they plan to ramp up their email marketing efforts next year. I think that email campaigns can be very valuable if they’re done right. If you’re able to bring a social element into your email newsletters and marketing materials (Yelp does a great job of marrying traditional and social in their newsletters), I think you can have a very successful campaign.
- Social media marketing isn’t a fad. I’ve heard some SEOs and marketers grumble about how sick they are of social media marketing, thinking that it’s just the next big thing that will blow over soon and get replaced with a new up and coming fad. I think the problem is that, as with SEO, there are a lot of people in the industry who can give the craft a bad reputation because they’re messing around in a sphere they don’t know much about. However, like I said, I think that social media marketing is just an evolution of traditional marketing and will continue to be important as the Internet remains an essential part of our everyday lives. The core of marketing is all about promoting, selling and distributing a product or service, and the best way to do that has always been reaching out to your audience and resonating with them in a way that will make you memorable. Social media is exactly that — it provides you a new medium to reach out to your audience and make some sort of imprint. To say that social media marketing is a fad is to dismiss marketing itself as a fad, and we all know that marketing’s been around for hundreds of years and doesn’t show signs of slowing.
I’m happy to see that there’s an increased awareness of social media marketing and its importance/benefits. It’s rewarding and promising to hear about people wanting to hear more about it at conferences and planning to dive into it more in the coming years. :)