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November 24, 2009

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Karenswim

Paul, excellent points and very cogent discussion. One of my ongoing pet peeves with "gurus" is the emphasis on tactics rather than strategy. My own approach with clients has and always will be is to have a vision, develop a strategy and then implement the tactics that achieve the goals. Thanks for contributing balanced insight and providing a platform for discussion.

John Mark Troyer

It has to come back to your business goals, but yes, you do have to show business value if you're doing social media work for a business! Some of our platforms are more community-based, and their goal is NOT to create leads, but to make our customer technologists more successful. However, some of our platforms are aimed further up the funnel, and for those, integrating appropriate calls to action is fine, and even appreciated by the people stopping by to read/comment. As you say, both tactics have to fit in to your overall social media strategy.

Paul Chaney

Thanks for your comments Karen. You hit the nail precisely on the head!

One of my greatest concerns is the constant focus on tactics on the part of the client. It's the job of the "guru" to refocus their attention on how such ties to business communications and marketing objectives. Otherwise, they only contribute to the syndrome.

Paul Chaney

Thanks for the comments John Mark. I appreciate your mention of the funnel. The book Groundswell did an apt job of describing the place where social media fits within it in relationship to advertising/marketing. The key is, it has a place.

I'll trade you five "let's throw it on the wall and see if it sticks" tactics for one well-conceived, comprehensive marketing strategy anytime!

Gregg Morris

Very nice sir! You have provided some sound navigational skills for folks in what have been very turbulent seas churning in reaction to Jason's and John's posts as well as Beth's discussion thread.

Paul Chaney

Thank you Gregg. I think if we're all determined to make this work, we can and will. The benefits are self-evident in my view.

Now is not the time to question social media's efficacy from a marketing standpoint (and I'm not suggested either Beth, Jason or John did), but to embrace its native value and figure out how to incorporate it into a strategically-focused, revenue-generating marketing strategy.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest it works. More to come as well!

Christopher Shallow

Social media marketing must be part of a PLANNED integrated marketing communications strategy, not a 'stand-alone'. Every tactic must, as you write, be part of a planned, co-ordinated strategy; social media marketing is no different.

Chris Baggott

Thank you so much for the call-out. What people seem to forget here that this is the web. What's spectacular about the web compared to other media is the ability to test and measure. We didn't start our blogs looking like this, but we did have a goal. We wanted to engage and convert. The content engages, but as Jason points out, that doesn't necessarily help anybody really.

Conversion shows real engagement and we are continually testing our blog templates.

Each week we test a different combination of elements. That top banner was a big risk and we had a lot of internal discussion about it....but in the end, why discuss? Just put it up there...if it shows a negative result we pull it down...no harm no foul.

The reality is that our conversion rate went from about 3% to almost 10%. That tells me that this page is making people happy (consider the average website converts about 1.6% according to WebTrends)

Bottom line is that our blogs and the blogs of our clients have a job to do. Attract searchers, engage them with content that's relevant and give them a clear path to move forward with the relationship.

Again, this is basic Web Marketing 101 that seems to have been forgotten in the 'buzz' around social media.

Paul Chaney

Thanks for the explanation of your use of CTAs on the site. Regarding testing, I suspected as much. You have certainly proven one case for the use of social media to drive leads. Now, we've got to codify how socnets like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can do it. I'm sure that work has already been done, I just have to find where it's documented.

Ira9201

I agree 100% WITH John's emphasis on strategy. I would go one step further it needs to be an integrated media strategy that includes social media, traditional advertising, online and PR. It needs to be seamless by design and include ROI> Most of the hype on social media is on the tactics. WE need to get tee shirts with a bid "S" ( Strategy) on it and walk into a client letting them know that "S" is the first step not whether to use Twitter or FB.

Paul Chaney

And I couldn't agree more with you Ira. Your's is a mature viewpoint that takes into account the role that social media plays in the mix.

Diamond Solitaire Rings

Well I have been very active in social media marketing...so it's not wastage of time for me.
What i think is that you require a sincere, and continuous efforts in social media marketing...to get it work for you.

Silicon Beach Training

Playing games and chatting with friends will not profit business at all, and why should business pay for time spent socialising. On the other hand Social Media is essential for businesses today to compete in the market, but there is a big difference between using social media to promote a business, offer great customer service, increase brand awareness, engage with customers - and using social media for your private life. We at Silicon Beach Training use Social Media every day but everything we do is to improve service and attract customers.

Paul Chaney

Spot on. That's how it should be used, though I disagree there is no room for marketing via shared interests, which is how I see some people using social media, and seeing results from a business perspective.

I think it's too early in the game to be too restrictive about what works and what doesn't. There's still room for experimentation. New tools such as foursquare and other location-based social network applications open up a whole new channel for game playing-type activity that has a business aim.

In whatever way someone chooses to use social media, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Social media is a means to an end, that of business development. It's okay to have a little fun along the way.

BTW, I removed the hyperlink as I prefer commenters not use my blog to promote their services. On-target comments about the topic, like the one you submitted, are welcome, just not self-promotion.

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