Why is social marketing exploding right now? Because the Internet is evolving, according to Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Corporation and the author of the best-selling book “The Facebook Era.”
“Communication is evolving. People are sharing more information about themselves online than they ever have,” she explained. “Tweets, status updates…the fact that we all have Facebook profiles, sharing some pretty private information, and now we’re sharing that information semi-publicly with friends and friends of friends. That’s changing the interpersonal dynamic between people, but it’s also changing the way businesses can learn about their customers.”
But social media is also changing the marketing landscape. Marketing and advertising of yesteryear was a pretty cut-and-dry process: you had your brand, you had your ad, and you had timeslots on TV within which you could push your ad. But social media is so diffuse that in order to adapt, marketing has to become social as well—namely, by engaging in a conversation with consumers while customers talk back at the brand and marketer, and talk to others about the brand.
And who are these new consumers that businesses are targeting? In Shih’s book, she mentions that 94% of the college students she surveyed said they did not check their email on a regular basis, preferring texts, tweets, and other forms of instant communication. But Shih points out that if we take a step back and look at the history of communications, we’ve seen this before.
“It was the same thing when we went from in-person meetings to phone calls, and then from phone calls to emails…you have to communicate through the medium preferred by your demographic, and for Facebook and Twitter, it’s a no-brainer.”
Check out my interview with Clara Shih, where she discusses the social marketing consumer, which social marketing campaigns are most effective, and how businesses can leverage social media to reach their target demographics.