The economy still weighs heavily on everyone's mind, and we're seeing drastic changes in traffic patterns. Hopefully, with changes in the U.S. political climate, things will turn around a bit.
Over the last few weeks, I've also been watching many self-proclaimed marketing gurus speak of social media's role in filling in the gap during the economic downturn. While social media should be a part of any forward-thinking and transparent company, I would urge caution if you believe that you can monetize it easily or quickly. It's also not a magic pill for traffic building.
The biggest problem I have with the term "social media" is that it isn't media in the traditional sense. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all the others I don't have the word count to mention aren't media; they are platforms for interaction and networking. All the traditional media -- print, broadcast, search, and so on -- provide platforms for delivery of ads near and around relevant content. Social media are platforms for interaction and relationships, not content and ads.
To be truly effective using these interaction platforms, you must understand why we use them.
We raised $282. Not too bad. But more important, we learned more about what moves people to take action. We learned that people loved to play but are less willing to pay.
As of this writing, Twitturly shows there were 150 tweets with an estimated reach of more that 165,000. This only measures the number of people who sent the link around, though there were many others playing. Clearly it was a successful game, but the metrics didn't translate into the big money I had hoped for charity.
While this is an anecdotal example, it demonstrates social media's power to reach and engage people -- on their terms, not yours. People are attracted to people. People used the game mostly to connect with other people.
Social media isn't an advertising and branding platform; it's a hyper-interactive relationship-builder. Social media isn't a magic pill for traffic woes; it's used to deepen longer-term relations.
When you engage in social media, you enter into an unspoken social contract. You are in a relationship; it goes both ways. There are boundaries. Respect and trust must be earned.
Tips for Using Social Media
Here are a few ways to view and use social media:
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Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.