When marketers evaluate all of the digital communication channels at their disposal, they’re faced with a rich array of choices including the latest in social and mobile marketing. Social media marketing includes participation on social networking websites such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, video and photo sharing websites including YouTube and Flickr, blogging, microblogging (Twitter), podcasts, forums, product reviews (Amazon) and social bookmarking websites. Like email marketing, these channels help companies disseminate information to large audiences rapidly and cost-effectively.
Omniture and The CMO Club conducted a Digital Marketing Survey in May of 2009 wherein 102 CMOs were asked to rate the relative effectiveness of digital marketing media. While most respondents, or 78 percent, found email marketing most effective, online communities and blogs were also successful for 33 percent of the respondents, a strong statistic considering the low cost of entry and relatively young nature of social media. Most online consumers engage with a variety of online communications and activities and have different preferences and tastes. Studies like this underscore the importance of including a full range of interactive and mobile marketing vehicles in your digital marketing campaigns.
Today’s businesses should be using all of these complementary media outlets – email, social networks and mobile marketing – to most effectively connect and communicate with their current and prospective customers.
Networking with Customers
With companies incorporating interactive and digital strategies more frequently into their campaign mixes, Forrester Research has predicted the highest rate of growth for social media over the next five years*. Social networking venues do not necessarily increase leads, nor do they populate a company’s prospect database. But social networking does give organizations the opportunity to share information in a one-to-many format authenticated by consumer and peer reports, comments and endorsements, extend their brand reach and learn even more about their audiences – from age and sex to education level, social patterns, preferences and tastes. At the same time, social networking websites give customers the ability to research companies more thoroughly, read peer reviews and develop a comprehensive business profile before they ever make a purchase. For both parties, social networking offers a means to foster trust and long-term loyalty.
Blogging and microblogging further nurture that relationship, providing a vehicle for companies to tout their expertise, promote new products, share news and stay connected without being pushy. Blog comments offer real-time feedback and encourage a worthwhile dialog among the two parties, helping businesses better understand their customer’s needs. Blogs and microblogs increase brand visibility, improve search engine rankings and word-of-mouth marketing. Companies can further use posts to gain visibility within premium publications at little to no cost simply through mentions or links from web media, press or high-profile industry bloggers.
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