Survive the Internet Phenomenon with Three Digital Marketing Lessons – Part 2

In Digital Strategy by Marius Badenhorst

content-marketingYesterday I discussed the ways and means of becoming a digital CSI hero by capitalising on great content. Today I’d like to look at the Internet marketing mediums that allow brands to do just that.

The online space has become a meeting place for real people. While the industry sage might shake their head at the irony contained in that statement, it’s time that we all recognise that consumers are tired of the same old spin from advertisers. They want authenticity and they want it from someone they can relate to. Social media platforms allow brands to achieve this type of personalisation – and in a timely manner.

Lesson 2 – The Marketing Mediums of the Digital Age

Social Networking Sitessocial-media-platforms-ranking

The above are considered the big four networking hubs of the Internet, where users congregate to share information with their community of friends and connections. These popular platforms have changed the dynamic of client/brand interactions; allowing consumers to give real-time feedback on products and services – sometimes to the detriment of the brands that fail to respond fast enough.

Blogs

A name derived from the term ‘web log,’ blogs and their associated bloggers have become the online real estate of the Internet.  These online journals are a space where they can share their sentiments on topics of passionate interest, and can easily evolve into online influencers when people subscribe to them and comment on their content.

Company blogs have spread rapidly in the digital space, especially since brands have identified this as a space where they can spread the word about products and services they believe in.

Popular blog hosting sites include WordPress and Blogger.

Video and Photo Sharing Sites

Images are conversation starters, which is why YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Picasa, and Pinterest are so relevant to the Internet’s alignment with rich media snippets.

Chat Rooms and Message Boards

This is the virtual water cooler for shared topics of interest. Individuals rely on these online meeting places to hear what their fellow user has to say about brand products and services; there’s nothing quite as powerful as an honest review published by someone without a brand agenda.

Wikis

These are information sites that anyone can edit, update, and suggest new pages for.  A great opportunity to build an organic link back to a company website, as well as an authoritative educational resource that can solely be devoted to spreading brand awareness; wikis are the latest marketing tool to become prominent on the digital block.

Social bookmarking

StumbleUpon and Reddit are great examples of social bookmarking platforms, where people can suggest interesting content to others and even rate it. These sites are a great source of social sharing, and their ability to support online marketing campaigns remains a great business resource in today’s digital marketplace.

Mobile Applications

Most of the above sites have mobile applications where users can tweet, comment, share, and publish on the go. Making the Internet 100% portable, mobile has made social media marketing a 24/7 activity.

Is Social Media Marketing Effective?

For those who are still sceptical about the power of social media to generate solid customer loyalty, Bain & Company surveyed over 3,000 consumers in 2011 to measure the effectiveness of online mediums as cost-efficient marketing tools. The results of the research showed that customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those brands than other customers. The same individuals also demonstrated a deeper emotional commitment to those organisations, rating them a higher NPS score – a common measure of customer loyalty.

Image Courtesy of Bain & Company
putting-social-media-to-work-figure

Social Platforms Enable Communication

The companies with the best online reputations have recognised that unless they deliver pertinent information when their audience is most receptive to it, their content will not be consumed. Have you identified your audience and their needs? Organisations that have not will struggle to elicit any type of commitment or purchase. They are too focussed on their own goals and objectives rather than that of their customers. You need to be user-centric, not author-centric.

Join me tomorrow for the final lesson on how your brand can survive the Internet phenomenon by participating in customer communication – the key to great digital marketing.

About the Author

Marius Badenhorst

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