7 “Must Know” Facts about Online Marketing

by | May 20, 2011 | Blog, Blog Archive | 0 comments

Yesterday’s webinar on marketing and compliance, sponsored by Distribion, WebWisedom and The Distributed Marketing Blog,  was great.  The complete webinar presentation is available for download by clicking here

There were quite a few questions from the audience, and several people One of the last slides in the presentation contained these seven “must know” facts about online marketing.  They are:

1.  Consumers drive social media. , today’s consumers are anything but passive recipients of corporate marketing messages. They’re active participants in the marketplace – posting reviews on websites like Yelp, Tweeting their friends to ask for recommendations on car insurance, and posting the results of their conversations with customer support on Facebook as they happen.

Today’s marketplace is no longer connected by a one-way communications channel. Thanks to the Internet, we’re all linked through an interactive super highway where marketers have dozens of channels to monitor, manage, and create the right brand image, all while consumers are creating their own messages about your brand. In social media, it’s the “community” that has the power – and they aren’t going to give it back to corporate marketing.

Opting out isn’t an option – so monitoring the conversation and participating in it is essential.

2. Your mother was right. Specifically, in the context of social media and online interactions, your mother was right when she said:

  • Common sense and prudence should be the basis for anything “said” online. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web told an audience at Agenda once that, “The Internet isn’t written in pencil or ink. It’s written in mathematics, and algorithms are forever.” Certainly, there’s no reason to think that the vast archives of data being created online will ever vanish – so being prudent and careful about the digital graffiti we leave on social media walls really is just the kind of (un)common sense our mothers tried to warn us to adopt.
  • If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. (Corollary: Don’t sink to “their” level. For a more detailed explanation of what this means in social media terms, check out this article called, Don’t Feed the Trolls. )
  • If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother (or the CEO), don’t say it online. When people get into trouble because of something they posted online, it’s nearly always because they fell into the trap of believing that they were engaged in a casual conversation among friends – only to find out that the regulatory agencies define a post online as one of three things: an advertisement, a public appearance, or sales literature. And even if your privacy settings allow access to your content only by friends and family, they can rebroadcast your message easily, making it visible far beyond your sphere of control and (often) comfort.
  • Always say thank-you, and follow-up on promises you make. This really is the heart of building a strong following on social media. Say thank you to every subscriber to your blog, every Twitter follower, and answer every comment or direct message. It’s the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.

3.  Everything is measureable. There’s a myth out there that social media can’t be measured and tracked. It’s just that: a myth. There are dozens of paid and free applications available that will track ROI and help you identify the influencers. The presentation from yesterday’s webinar includes links to several of these tools, and the panelists are happy to answer questions about anything reviewed in the webinar; email links are included in the presentation, available for download here.

4.  You’re responsible for everything on your page(s), and all social media messages are discoverable and covered by compliance rules and regulations. What does this mean? It means that in a regulated environment (insurance, financial services, health care, education, etc.) moderated comments are a requirement, and that every link, every quote, and every statement posted (by the company or anyone else) is covered by regulations and discovery rules.

5.  Buy-in from stakeholders – sales, marketing, PR, HR, legal, compliance – is essential. Even in highly regulated environments, your sales people are already using social media. Many of them may think that there’s a line of demarcation between personal social media use and professional usage – but not all regulatory agencies see it that way for certain professions. So set a clear policy, train your stakeholders, and monitor usage – then remind, correct, and re-train (often) for the long haul.

6.  It’s worth it – doing digital and social media marketing RIGHT pays off.

  • 300,000,000 U.S. Citizens 200,000,000 US Citizens on the FTC’s “Do Not Call list”.  Source: Federal Trade Commission.
  • 152 million U.S. Facebook Users – 21 Million US Twitter Users Source: eMarketer, April, 2011.
  • LinkedIn is now the #2 source of in-bound sales leads for B2B marketers.  Source: Forrester, December, 2010.
  • Social media allows you to manage and drive in-bound traffic. Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing: Average cost inbound lead: $143. Average cost, outbound lead: $373.  Source: American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), 2011.
  • 63.7% of Internet users regularly use a social network. Source: eMarketer, Feb. 2011.

7.  Technology can automate compliance. During the webinar, the panelists talked about the technology tools they use to automate their in-bound and out-bound marketing tasks. Panelists mentioned the Distribion Distributed Marketing Platform’s Digital Asset Management, Marketing Automation, Email, Print, Web, and Tracking features, as well as Socialware and Shoutlet (two social CRM applications), and talked about the importance of integrating your marketing automation tools with your sales force automation tools for lead tracking, scoring, and analytics. The key is to deliver the compliance tools that corporate marketing needs plus the ease of use that local and field marketing needs.

For more information on these seven “must know” facts about digital and social media marketing, please download the presentation here.