More Than Just Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube

by Mark Hess

Trying to effectively use social media for promotion becomes harder as more and more companies compete for views. But what about the lesser know social sites out there. Jay Baer writes convincingly that to ignore them is to ignore opportunity. Do you agree with his thoughts?

Are You Taking Social Media Shortcuts?
March 9th, 2010 | Written By: Jay Baer

Are you treating social media like a checklist?

A recent study by Econsultancy called “The Value of Social Media” shows that companies are overwhelmingly using the “Big 4″ of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Linkedin for their social media efforts.

And while I don’t have any issues with those sites (in fact I wrote about Facebook marketingin-depth here), but is treating social media like a checklist really the best possible solution for your company?

There’s More Out There if You Look For It

Every day, 22 million Americans eat at McDonald’s. But, there are 108 million other people that eat at restaurants each day in America that are NOT McDonald’s.

A recent feature on on “10 of World’s Strangest Social Networks” gets it all wrong. Somebody’s “strange” social network is someone else’s potentially thriving customer community. And when you stick 100% to the Big 4, you miss those opportunities.

Sure, the StachePassions social network (for mustache aficionados, natch) is a little unusual on the surface. But, if you think it through, many companies could succeed by participating in this community. Of course facial hair supply. But, what about photographers or digital cameras? What about Baskin Robbins – with a promotion offering free samples (and extra napkins)?

There are more than two million specialty communities on the Ning platform alone, giving you ample opportunities to find your fans and customers.

It’s About Engagement, Not Eyeballs

I worry that by focusing so much on the Big 4, we start to look at social media through the prism of audience size, which is a vestige of the old marketing. Remember, social media is about meeting your customers in their house, on their terms, and working together. And if your customers are on (which has 2.2 million members), then maybe that’s where you should be as well – even if that means you don’t participate on Twitter.

I’m not saying you have to have a social presence in every single place one of your customers has an account. That’s impractical and unnecessary. But, in the rush to “do” social media, companies are forgetting that the communities that are most social (and thus carry the most potential) are those that are topically focused.

Do you really know where your customers are in social media? Are you ready to look harder?

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2 Responses

  1. Maayan Roman says:

    “It’s About Engagement, Not Eyeballs” – Couldn’t agree more. The idea that maximum reach of the entire population as marketing tactic is an incredibly wasteful one. Especially in the field of Direct Marketing we know how important deliberate and accurate segmentation is.

    I’m reminded of a case study on Range Rover that I did while in school. They created a print-only advertising campaign in which they wrote the price on the ad – something rather uncommon for car print ads. While this method reached a small audience (only those reading the particular publications) and may have alienated some by the blatant price, Range Rover was successful in reaching their target demo and not wasting any time on people who are not viable prospects. Great optimization IMO and similar to what you propose for SMM.

  2. Mark Hess says:

    I hadn’t heard the Land Rover story. But cases like that, where a company breaks with the industry standards are often the new trend setters. Speaking of interesting car campaigns, back in the 60’s, VW launched an ad campaign that was mostly white space and a small picture of the Beetle. The headline was, “Think small”. It was regarded as a silly waste of space by other ad agencies and was one of the first cases of viral marketing even before that phrase was invented. The public loved it and VW’s market share soared. VW then went on to do other out of the ordinary ads which are advertising legend.
    But more to the point, we’re in a fascinating period now where we can direct with pin point accuracy the message we want to share with the demographic most likely to respond. It’s so cool.
    Thanks for you great comment.

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