Social media changes our pattern of lives indeed. It allows us to make friends, communicate with others, access to news, read books, shop clothes etc. in different and facilitative ways. It also has brought revolutionary changes in the business area. Cohen’s article introduces the current trends in online marketing. Briefly summarize the article, there are some conspicuous features in online marketing -consumers use different sorts of devices such as Smartphone, tablet, e-reader etc. to access online everywhere anytime. And this leads to prosperity in social commerce and m-commerce as well as alert marketers about significance of 24/7 attentive monitoring in the business field. To keep up with customers’ needs for their satisfaction, and to resolve their complaints, consequently, the important role of social media marketing has soared, and many social media experts emphasize and propose content marketing to attract and engage customers.
The last two characteristics in the trend that I mentioned above–growth in social media marketing and content marketing- grab my interest. To talk about the social media marketing first, many marketers and PR practitioners in the business sector have recognized its influence through their own experience or success/failure cases from other companies around them. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr etc. are popular tools among the professionals. To assess its effectiveness, the number of ‘likes, thumbs up, tweets/re-tweets, followers’ are summed, but as a matter of fact, some social media experts are skeptic to these assessments; since these numbers can be generated relatively easily with no big customer’s engagement.
Additionally, some professionals just follow what others do without considering of their business traits or goals. Obviously, social media marketing has become mainstream. Yet, when using social media to expand the business, raise brand awareness, or build/maintain good relationships with customers, it needs for communication professionals to precede to fully understand the feature of business industry, of (potential) customer, and business goals and objects. The article ‘Social Media Tools & Tech -15 Tips to Not Lose Your Mind!’ gives useful advices to those who have wrong idea of social media marketing.
I highly agree with the tips such as ‘Get in the head of your audiences’ and ‘Select business goals where social can make a difference’ from Moore’s article, when thinking about misconception of social media. Social media marketing is not a magic wand; McDonald’s started a Twitter campaign with #MeetTheFarmers to promote its image positively, escaping from its pervasive ‘unhealthy’ and ‘junky’ one. Unlike what McDonald’s expected from the campaign, it brought about negative comments, and some sounded quite insulting; “I haven’t been to McDonald’s in years, because I’d rather eat my own diarrhea.” “One time I walked into McDonald’s and I could smell Type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up.” By tweeting what is different from McDonald’s perceived brand persona, it allowed the negative comments to re-identify McDonald’s as a symbol of junk food.
To avoid this type of crisis, ‘lateral thinking’ can be helpful. According to the writer of ‘5 things you need to know before designing your social media strategy’, ‘lateral’ means that conversation that is happening between people. I think ‘lateral thinking’ helps expecting what and how the customers/audience would be likely to react. As two-way communication has become possible through new media, it is important to share the idea, and furthermore make customers engaged to the conversation to develop the relationships. Yes, ‘engagement’ is getting more and more considered in terms of interaction in social media. And I think the emergence of social media allows to build and maintain the relationships more in a democratic way. If company wants customers to be involved in conversation, it has to pay careful attention to their needs and problems. And that is the reason why social media experts should emphasize the worth of content marketing.
Personally, I think that the business field focused highly on customer’s loyalty in the past. Probably, loyal-customer and engaged-customer can be used interchangeably to some extend. However, I believe the term customer’s loyalty is more skewed to company’s interests, while customer engagement more reflects on customer-oriented value. And I suppose that customer’s proactive participation may be able to lead them to be loyal to the brand. As such, content marketing would achieve customer’s engagement to the brand, product or the company, since it rather pays attention to customer’s profitable action than company’s profit by providing the relevant and valuable content, that assist to solve customer’s problem. Some businesses have already performed prominent content marketing. And if you want to see how some companies conduct content marketing successfully, check the following web wites: P&G’s beinggirl.com, 5 lessons from Coca Cola’s new content marketing strategy.