Embrace Social Media

Social media is a “cost efficient experiment” according to the Social Computing Journal. Smart Brief says polls on LinkedIn and AdWeek show “Recession will yield ad improvements in ROI, Web, social media”. Bryan Eisenberg of ClickZ states that “social media should be a part of any forward-thinking and transparent company.” Smart Brief has gone so far as to recognise the importance by creating its own section of Smart Brief on Social Media.

So what does this all mean? Social Media has hit the mainstream and we need to learn to manage our interactions with it, as individuals and businesses. It has enormous possibilities and we are all invited to partake, in fact we cannot avoid it once we go online. It was not so long ago we were learning how to deal with ratings and comments being the extent of the online interactions. Now we are creating global communities everywhere. In Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations we are drawn deeper into the impact of communities or organisations that are self created. As marketers we need to learn to not simply “harness” the communities but become active participants. As receivers we need to embrace the wealth of knowledge to be obtained and learn to optmise our interactions so that we do not become even more overwhelmed by the influx of information. Do not resist, but take the time to take part and learn what is out there to make the most of it.

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Tools to translate impact

BuzzMetrics from Nielson has the right methodology for analysis of social impact on brands. But of course, for the entrepreneur these tools may be too costly to invest in when thinking about sustainability in the build up phase.

The basic concepts can be done using a combination of free tools (of course this is more work, but since when is starting your own business easier than doing a job for someone else). Setting up Alerts for your company name, your brand and your product name, and even for you, is a good start. There are several places you can do this, but a good start is Nielsen’s free tool Blogpulse and Google (you will need a Google account to set this up). This will at least send you summaries of the sites and links to buzz. You should get familiar with using “feeds” from other site and blogs so you can tag ones that are of interest. Check out some of the free white papers and data on nielsen-online as well to establish a good base and learn from existing market research.

For those of you less techy-types, here is an explanation about feeds and how to use them. I am certainly starting to appreciate Commoncraft’s ability to break things down into “plain English.”

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