Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hear Ye, Hear Ye "The Oldest Form of Marketing Made New"

When something new hits, it seems as if everyone tries to figure out how to use it, what its purpose is and what new thing it can do. Many times all that needs to happen is to take a step back and find out what it's like. Sometimes the strategies used for other tools can be used.

I've spent a lot of time over the past couple months talking to people about social media, its uses and what it can do. I found that really it's just word of mouth marketing in a new package. When you take a time to really look at social media and how it is used, you begin to see that it is the same way news has traveled for years.

The earliest forms of communication traveled from one person to another. The town crier would stand and yell the news. Paul Revere spread the news of the British coming from one town to another by telling people. Social media spreads news the same way. One person tells two people. Those two people tell two more. And then those four tell two more. The number of people aware of the news grows exponentially.

Social media does need its own strategy. But it's just another tool. Many of the measurements being used for email marketing, websites, and other online marketing can be leveraged. Measurements such as:

  1. How many people possibly saw the message? 
  2. How many people reacted? 
  3. What actions were taken because of the message?
These are the questions we want to know the answers to. With this information, we can start changing the messages based on the reaction and if the desired action was taken. The same thing with word of mouth marketing. When Paul Revere came shouting "The British are coming!" The desired action was mobilization. If the cities didn't mobilize, we might have lost the Revolutionary War.

Before building a strategy for social media, first, consider what you want the end action to be. This makes the strategy planning easier.