Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stop Collaborate and Listen - Social Media Marketing and Vanilla Ice??

Not to say that Vanilla Ice is a guru in the digital marketing area, but we CAN take a lesson from this song’s opening line (Ice, Ice, Baby) - “Stop, collaborate and listen…”

Yeah, that’s pretty much all we can take from him in online marketing tips…but I think it is a strong opening statement for anyone who wants to test the waters in developing a social media marketing strategy.

I believe that social media should be included as a part of a total marketing mix, which should have multiple channels for maximum effectiveness, reaching your audience however they are using media. But wait, even if you know what media they are using, do you know HOW they are using it? When I worked in radio, I would need to break down listenership into day parts. HOW were the listeners (that matched the particular demo/psychographic that an advertiser wanted to reach) USING the medium? Were they loyal to a particular program, then that might be where you would want to apportion some of the budget? Were they listening on the web? It was very important for my success as an account manager to understand how the audience was using the medium to maximize my client’s ROI so that the message was most likely to reach them. And analytics were crucial for me to understand that, regularly researching Arbitron data.

There are many tools available for online marketers to understand how their audience is using the online space. And it seems that new technologies are popping up every day - Google Analytics is widely popular in tracking the web usage of your site and seeing how people are using it, but you can also track trends on twitter (In a previous post, I discussed another valuable tool, Twitalyzer).

Ok, now you STOPped. Once you know HOW your audience is using social media, then you need to LISTEN. Collaborate with and listen to your audience. They will tell you what they want. And I don’t mean getting them to step aside from the space they are happily using and involved with their community, but I mean track the trends WITHIN their communities. Online surveys are a great tool, but if you have the opportunity to see how they are interacting with each other in their space, and maybe putting a poll in every now and then, how much more valuable is that - and in REAL time.

And in the days (almost 7 years!) when I was a jazz vocalist running my own business, it was CRUCIAL for me to understand what my fans wanted to hear. What places did they like to go to, so I could to some B2B and book venues for them to come. What headshot did they want me to use for my press efforts - yes, they even helped me choose a photo, from 6 images on a hidden page on my website in a private survey. And that photo had a major return for me, because I knew this was how my audience wanted to see me represented. What better marketing research is there, then one conducted with your own audience!

Don’t discount the value your customers can offer you if you just take a moment to STOP, COLLABORATE and LISTEN. Then you can effectively plan your social media strategy, and pretty much all your digital marketing efforts. Be appreciated for adding VALUE to the conversation. Your audience will let you know, if you just take a moment to let them know you want to hear them. They’ve got a LOT to say!

Posted via web from vickie_smith's posterous

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