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Old 11-09-2009, 09:09 AM
bholus10 bholus10 is offline
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Default 3 Reasons for "Serious" Brands and Businesses to Jump Into Social Media

Historically speaking, there used to be an idea that certain kinds of marketing tactics were reserved for certain kinds of businesses and brands.

You might have expected a circus company to stage a big to-do in Times Square, for example, but not a home appliance company.

And yet, 2008 saw giant inflatable versions of General Electric's latest washer and dryer camped out in Manhattan, underneath a sky-high clothesline strung with laundry!

The lines defining what's an acceptable marketing tactic for one business, brand, or organization versus another have been blurring for years. And marketing on the Internet has been subject to the same situation.

As in the offline world, common beliefs about what's appropriate turn into myths that ultimately get shattered by breakthrough companies. Blendtec, a maker of high-end blenders designed for commercial kitchens and luxury homes, wouldn't seem to be a good fit for YouTube at first glance.

But their "Will It Blend?" videos (more than 80 as of this writing), with low production costs and a campy soundtrack, have garnered nearly 80 million views and increased sales by more than 700% in the 18 months since the campaign began.

So let's break down some of the common myths about social media marketing - that the tools are not for "serious" business use, that only "kids" use them, and that no one's "listening" online.

1. The long-term trend.

Social networks - like blogs before them, and like websites before blogs - started off being used for "non-business" purposes. Once associated with techie-type forums or personal rantings and ravings, the trend for all of these online tools is to go from niched and private use to broad-based public use.

Websites are now universally accepted by even the most straight-laced and serious industries, brands, and organizations.

Blogs are about as well regarded, and though they're not as pervasive as websites, their use continues to grow (up 68% in 2008). And just about every company on the Fortune 100 has a presence on at least one social network.

Please don't get hung up on where these tools have been. Look at where they're going instead. Seriously!

2. The average user age.

Twitter, with its 140-character limit, frivolous "What are you doing?" update invitation, and rampant use of instant messaging/texting type abbreviations ("LOL!"), seems ideally suited for young users. In fact, the average user age hovers right around 40. Yes, you read it right. 40.

Facebook started out as being just for college students, but they've opened their doors to everyone now. (Truth is, their ambition is to displace Google at the center of the Internet - and they can do it.) Currently, their biggest user base is in the 25-34 age group, and growing fastest in the over-40 set.

LinkedIn is, well, LinkedIn - for professionals only. Always has been, always will be. And despite the attention media darlings like Facebook and Twitter receive, LinkedIn is growing just fine, thank you very much. They crossed the 40-million user mark, no doubt propelled in large part by the topsy-turvy economy.

So let us say it loud and proud: Social networks aren't just for the kids anymore.

3. How we use the web.

When's the last time you stopped and thought about the way you surfed the web? Steve Krug, a website user-interface expert and author of the seminal book "Don't Make Me Think," suggests that the best way to see

how someone surfs your own site is to invite them over for a beer, sit down next to them, and watch them try to find their way through your site.

You can extend this idea to how your customers, clients, and prospects use not only your website, but the whole Internet in general. When we're online, we're information seekers.

I may be seeking out the latest funny cat videos, and you may be trying to learn what that weird bump on your knuckle is all about, but the process is the same - we're looking for information in a focused and targeted way.

And we behave the same way whether our information seeking (or "listening") is for business or personal use.

Having an active presence on social networks and a blog of one's own creates more opportunities for you to be found by information seekers. It gives search engines more reasons to list you higher in the search results than your non-blogging, anti-social competition.

And it proves to your target audience how much you care, how much you know, and how much more worthy you are of attention, respect, and outright business dealings.

Last edited by bholus10; 11-09-2009 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:10 AM
bholus10 bholus10 is offline
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Default Besides, what good is the information doing you if it's just sitting in your head, wh

Besides, what good is the information doing you if it's just sitting in your head, where nobody can access it unless they carve out a piece of your limited time? Get it out there and put it to work for you!

It doesn't matter whether your target audience is in the public or private sector, academic or institutional, small business or large enterprise. Social media marketing tools level the playing field for all entrepreneurs, global brands, and mission-driven organizations.

So dive right in - the water's fine, and like the washer and dryer, you can adjust your settings to run hot, cold, fast, gentle, or anywhere in-between.
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