Strategy Session: Anti-social Media
Are You Out in the Blogosphere?
Blogging is the first use of social media-and about 25 new blogs have appeared since you first started reading this article. Recent estimates by Technorati (www.technorati.com) report there are more than 112.8 million English-language blogs and about the same number of blogs in other languages.
There are probably twice as many inactive blogs as active ones. And Facebook and other social media are outcompeting blogs and growing more quickly-because they allow for a lot more user engagement.
Can blogs be used in marketing? Absolutely-but again, there are real limits to how much of an impact you can make. It is probably more effective for smaller companies or PR opportunities.
So ... Does It Work?!
I googled "2008 Case histories of social media," and there were more than 21 million results. I won't pretend I went through all of them.
However, I did find that there were many cases of social media being used to "spread the world," send along viral videos and plenty of PR applications. But not a lot about actual, measurable marketing.
Mashable, which positions itself as The Social Media Guide (www.mashable.com), had a list of 35 examples of corporate social media in action. It included Coca-Cola Conversations, a blog written by company historian Phil Mooney that focuses on Coke collectibles; Dell, leveraging a variety of social media platforms for customer engagement, including an island in the virtual world of Second Life; and HP, using Twitter to power a scavenger hunt at a recent conference.
The only problem? None of the 35 examples had any sales or conversion numbers.
So, can social marketing really make a difference in your business? Or will it distract you from doing the basics of marketing?
I consulted my good friend and mentor, Jim Carey, adjunct professor of direct, database and e-commerce marketing at Northeastern University. He says, "While I share your skepticism about the current, scalable commercial applications, I think this will be ready for prime time one day. Too many people are in it, the technologies are advancing rapidly and there's too much money chasing it."