Social Media Marketing: A Necessary Component to a Successful Integrated Marketing Plan

By Amy Lamare

Social Networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and MySpace have taken the globe by storm. Whereas a few short years ago no one over the age of 22 used Facebook, now it is a worldwide phenomenon used by everyone from Mrs. Fields to President Obama.  Politicians have used Facebook as part of campaign outreach, performers and artists use it to reach out to their audiences, and companies use it to garner customer opinion and build a community loyal to their product or brand.  Social Media Marketing has become an integral part of any successful marketing campaign.

Social media and inbound marketing are crucial assets for a business to engage with potential customers on the Internet. Like it or not, the Internet has become both an encyclopedia and the yellow pages that is readily available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Customers turn to the web and to search engines like Google and Yahoo to find out more information about companies and products they are interested in.  It is imperative that companies use social networking sites as tools to control their own message, branding and perception.

Social Network Marketing can be helpful for businesses by providing information on products and services to potential customers. It is another tool for reaching out and touching your target market. Unlike traditional media, Social Media is an immediate way to interact with your customers and potential customers.  A business that is savvy enough to use Social Media Marketing to their advantage is ahead of the game and will often be perceived by the public to be hipper and more on trend than competitors who do not take advantage of Social Networking.

Integrated marketing coordinates the elements of the promotional mix – advertising, public relations, publicity, direct marketing and sales promotion – to produce a customer focused message.  With the emergence of Web 2.0 and as we move towards Web 3.0, the internet provides a set of tools that allow people to build social and business connections, share information and collaborate on projects online.  Web 2.0 centered around web applications and interactive information sharing such as blogs, RSS feeds and social networking. Web 3.0 is going to be a place where computers will be able to read web pages like humans. It is a place where Internet search engines and their “spiders” will troll the Web to find the user, your customer, exactly what they are looking for.  We are already well down the Web 3.0 path.

Don’t you want to be in control of that message, of the results the search engines return for your name or company’s name? With Social Media Marketing as an important part of your overall marketing campaign you will be in control. You will have your finger on the very pulse of your customers and potential customers.  Social Media Marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention – a good example of this is Old Spice’s recent Twitter and YouTube campaign.  In that campaign, Old Spice’s hunky male spokes model took questions from fans on Twitter and posted a series of hilarious YouTube videos responding to those questions.

Do you think that’s outrageous?  Well it is, in a good way, because Old Spice body wash sales have increased 107% in the past month in part thanks to that social media marketing campaign. A successful social media marketing program will generate online conversations and encourage readers to share it with their social networks.  The message that then spreads from user to user and presumably resonates is because it comes from a trusted source as opposed to the company itself trying to hard sell a customer.

Social media marketing benefits organizations and individuals by providing an additional channel for customer support, a means to gain customer and competitive insight and a method of managing their reputation online.  Social media marketing is perhaps the most relevant form of advertising a company can produce.

%d bloggers like this: