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Friday, May 24, 2013

Getting Most Out of Social Media Marketing

Today I attended a lecture by Jussi Kämäräinen of bGH Uusmedia. He is an expert on the topic of social media and shared some insight to it. It has made a huge impact on marketing and keeps on growing as a medium. It has already began to disrupt the traditional media. Companies are starting to realize the advantages of this new approach.

Traditional vs. Social Media

Newspaper by Mike Bailey-Gates (CC BY-NC-ND)
The primary difference between so-called traditional and social media has to do with the level of interaction. In traditional media it's unidirectional. You simply receive a message designed by someone else. Social media on the other hand works more like a dialogue.

You feed in something and then receive feedback onto which you may reply again. As Jussi stated it's like a game of table tennis whereas traditional media is like shooting with a cannon and hoping it hits something.

Both mediums are often used for marketing. Jussi defines marketing as something that is meant to increase sales. Based on this definition it includes quite a few things such as communication, r&d, strategy, planning, visibility (where and how). Even though the definition is somewhat broad it makes sense. Marketing is an umbrella term after all.

Even though you might not participate in social media willingly, it may still affect you. Good examples of this are recent cases in which some company has violated the environment in a way that has lead to a public outcry. These sort of things capture the attention of the masses and easily grow out of control. PR damage is done.

This is the reason why it is a good idea to have a social media strategy in place. You might go the way of Apple and avoid it. Or you might embrace it and build your brand recognition that way. You could even involve your customers in your product design. At the very least you should prepare for the continuity in which something goes wrong. How will you react and minimize the damage?

Purchased, Earned and Owned

Pwned by Mike Smail (CC BY-NC)
Jussi splits media into three distinct categories: purchased, earned and owned. A television ad is an example of a media which you can purchase. In case the television channel decided to interview you then that's something you have earned. If you own the television channel, you can use it quite freely.

Of course that applies to this blog as well. I get to publish whatever I like. My impact is pretty limited but I still own the media for whatever it is worth.

Of these three particularly earned and owned mediums are effective cost-wise. By definition purchasing visibility can be costly. Maintaining this blog costs me nothing but time. Earning media attention is a bit more difficult but still quite feasible.

The Nature of Social Media

Nature by A Guy Taking Pictures (CC BY)
How do people use social media? According to Jussi it's mostly about discussing and sharing. In addition it allows people to reach out to their favorite brands. This is quite contrary to traditional marketing.

Rather than trying to persuade people to use your product, you provide them a way to give feedback to you and get to engage with them in a dialogue.

This sort of social capital can be very important. It allows you to reach out to your target market with less effort and you will have a good idea of who your customers are. In fact taking something traditional, such as listening music, to the social level can be a business itself. Consider Spotify for instance.

Now that companies have begun to understand the value of social media, how to approach it? The strategies that worked in traditional media won't work anymore. Rather you should aim to build a community around your products? But how to achieve that? By providing concrete value for your customers. For instance you could provide an exclusive view behind the scenes or involve people in your design process.

It's All About Campaigns

Realize by Omar Chatriwala (CC  BY-NC-ND)
Marketing on social media is a bit like sniping. You have to know what you are after. For instance you might want to increase your brand recognition within some specific group of people.

Usually this sort of campaign can range from between a couple of months up to a year. You will evaluate its success based on metrics you have set up at the beginning. After a campaign has finished, you are ready to start a new one. It's an iterative process.

If you really want to succeed in your campaigns, you have to figure out how to stand out. How are you different than the others?

This sort of thinking also applies in traditional media. The campaign framework is generic. Thanks to modern technologies it is easy to keep track of how well you are doing. The services in use provide a wide range of metrics you may use to evaluate your success.


I think Jussi's brief presentation went through the most important things related to social media marketing and strengthened my view on the topic. It is definitely one of those industries that will keep on growing and transforming media.

The world will look quite different by the end of decade as the media permeates the society in a way that is hard to imagine. We will likely still have some vestiges of traditional media around but I expect that the way we consume and produce media will change somewhat. The question in my mind is what is the next big thing?