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Social Media Marketing Education and the Changing Nature of Consumer Interaction
Paul Chaney | August 22, 2012
This is a guest post from Samantha Porter. In addition to writing about online marketing techniques, Samantha contributes to an online resource that provides would-be marketers with information about breaking into the field, including where to find low-cost online marketing courses.
The pervasive digital communication that defines modern society has effectively transformed the way people approach clients and network with other businesses. For this reason, many of today’s companies and organizations have achieved success thanks to successful implementation of social media marketing strategies.
Paul Grabowicz of Knight Digital Media Center recently noted that social media’s rise to prominence as a business strategy is linked to the Web 2.0 movement that began a decade ago. When web-based marketers first took flight, their methods were similar to predecessors in that they presented “static content to a passive audience” and essentially tried to “lock people in” with various products.
Following the disastrous dot-com crash in the early 2000s, however, companies adopted a more interactive approach to client outreach. Grabowicz says the result was a two-way exchange defined by “digital culture of public participation, re-mixing by individuals of data and information, harnessing the power of collective intelligence and providing services, rather than products.”
Today, as online operations have become standard business practice, so too has the dynamic relationship between buyer and seller that was initially defined by Web 2.0. According to The Content Strategist, day-to-day marketing operations are deeply entrenched in social media for many professionals.
For all marketing professionals with at least three years of experience, 47% spent at least 16 hours per week using social media for business purposes. Overall, 92% of U.S. marketers use Facebook, 84% use Twitter and 71% use LinkedIn, while 68% maintain business-related blogs. Furthermore, at least 60% say they plan to increase their company’s use of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn within the next year.
Social media is considered an effective marketing strategy for several reasons. First, much like Web 2.0, it transcends business and pleasure. For many years, sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were viewed as purely recreational pursuits. Though these sites have proven to be a valuable source of marketing and business opportunities, their informality and interactivity make them significantly more appealing to customers than taking sales calls perusing corporate websites. Ultimately, this dynamic humanizes the company’s brand by making it more accessible to the public, which in turn leads to high levels of customer loyalty.
Social media is also an effective means for promoting visibility. Technically speaking, social media activity boosts the search engine optimization (SEO) of a business website. Search engine rank increases every time a company is able to drive high levels of traffic to its site; it improves even more when visitors take content from the site and re-post it onto social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
However, companies should not shy away from promoting themselves within social media. A recent study indicates companies that post at least one entry per day on their Facebook fan page, on average, reach 22% of their followers over a seven-day period. If a company has 500,000 fans, for instance, then 110,000 of them will be exposed to social media content within the course of a week.
Ten years ago, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn did not exist – and a decade from now, it is likely that these sites will also be supplanted. But regardless of specific platforms being utilized, industry experts predict that social media will play an integral role in worldwide marketing for a long time to come.
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