Social Media Marketing

Digital Marketing Tutorial

Social Media Marketing – Part I

Executive Summary:

Social Media Marketing, also called “Web 2.0”  and the “Social Web”, is after Mobile Web and Smartphone Apps, one of the most active areas in Digital Marketing. But what does it actually describe, and how can you put Social Media Marketing to work to help you market your goods and services more effectively on the Internet/Web?

Let’s start with a definition. Here’s how Wikipedia, itself a social media “application”, defines it as follows:

Web 2.0, a phrase coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004, refers to a perceived second-generation of Web based communities and hosted services — such as social networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — that facilitate collaboration and sharing between users.”

“Though the term suggests a new version of the Web, it does not refer to an update to Internet or World Wide Web technical specifications, but to changes in the ways the platform is used. According to Tim O’Reilly, “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”

Just keep this simple thought in mind as we go through the numerous Web 2.0 applications: from a WEB CONTENT point of view, in Web 1.0 applications, YOU had to generate ALL of the Web/Internet content that related to you and your product/service; in Web 2.0 applications, YOU AND OTHERS create that content (for better or worse!) in a collaborative effort.

In Part I (below) , we’ll take a look at the major social media applications.

In Part II of Social Media Marketing, we’ll look at some examples of how to make use of these applications in your organization’s Digital Marketing program.

Part I – Social Media (“Web 2.0”) Applications:

Click on the social media application name to jump to the discussion of that application:

Blogs – Here’s how Blogger.com, one of the largest free blogging services, defines blogs: “A blog is a web page made up of usually short, frequently updated posts that are arranged chronologically – like a what’s new page or a journal. The content and purposes of blogs varies greatly – from links and commentary about other web sites, to news about a company/person/idea, to diaries, photos, poetry, mini-essays, project updates, even fiction. Blog posts are like instant messages to the web.

Click on the following link to learn much more about blogs, blogging and the use of this Web 2.0 application: Blogs & Blogging

Click on the following link to review the complementary blog to this Digital Marketing Tutorial: Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog

User Reviews – Ever buy a book on Amazon? Did you read the “Customer Reviews” for that book before buying it? Then you’re already a Web 2.0 veteran! That’s right – even though the term “Web 2.0” was coined in 2004, Web 2.0 applications have been around for quite a bit longer.

One of the best examples of this type of application are Customer Book Reviews first done by Amazon to accompany traditional book reviews, and now found on almost all online store Web sites for just about any type of product. User Reviews tend to be a true Win-Win-Win for the online store, the review contributor, and for you, the potential Customer. (Also see “comparison Shopping” below.)

Wikis – (Wikipedia) – “A wiki is a website that allows visitors to add, remove, edit and change content, typically without the need for registration. It also allows for linking among any number of pages. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring. The term wiki can also refer to the collaborative software itself (wiki engine) that facilitates the operation of such a site, or to specific wiki sites, including the computer science site WikiWikiWeb (the original wiki) and online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia.”

Forums – (Wikipedia) “An Internet forum is a facility on the World Wide Web for holding discussions and posting user generated content, or the web application software used to provide this facility. Internet forums are also commonly referred to as web forums, message boards, discussion boards, (electronic) discussion groups, discussion forums, bulletin boards, or simply forums.

The term “forum” and “board” may refer to the entire community, or a specific sub-forum dealing with a distinct topic…. A forum is essentially a website composed of a number of member-written threads. Each thread entails a discussion or conversation in the form of a series of member-written posts. These threads remain saved on the forum website for future reading indefinitely or until deletion by a moderator.” Of all the Web 2.0 “applications, Internet forums is probably the one that has been around the longest, with the earliest versions dating back as far as the 1980’s.

Podcasts – (Wikipedia) – “A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. A podcast is a specific type of webcast which, like ‘radio’, can mean either the content itself or the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.

The term “podcast” is a combination of the name of Apple’s portable music player, the iPod, and broadcast; a pod refers to a container of some sort and the idea of broadcasting to a container or pod describes the process of podcasting.”

Social Networks – Facebook (and once upon a time MySpace!) is the largest “traditional” social network site, but this category also includes “multimedia” social networking sites like Flickr (member contributed, tagged and commented-on photos), and YouTube (member contributed, tagged and commented-on videos). I’m sure you’ve at least heard of all of them.

I also think that dating sites like eHarmony.com and travel sites like TripAdvisor.com should be included as social networking sites. These sites also create a sense of community where the visitors do most of the heavy lifting (creating the majority of the content on these sites, most of which is meant to be interactive in nature).

In hunting around for a good definition for the term “social network”, I found this definition of a “Social Networking Site” in PC Magazine’s “encyclopedia” to be both concise and informative:

“A Web site that provides a virtual community for people interested in a particular subject or just to “hang out” together. Members communicate by voice, chat, instant message, video conference and blogs, and the service typically provides a way for members to contact friends of other members. Such sites may also serve as a vehicle for meeting in person. The “social networking site” is the 21st century term for “virtual community,” a group of people who use the Internet to communicate with each other about anything and everything.

Friendster (www.friendster.com) was the first social networking site, which was introduced in 2002 and was followed by MySpace (www.myspace.com) a year later. Started by two friends, MySpace became extremely popular and its parent company, Intermix, was acquired by News Corporation for $580 million two years after MySpace was launched.

Facebook (www.facebook.com), the largest and most popular social media “winner”, came out in 2004 targeting college students, and soon after, TagWorld (www.tagworld.com) featured tools to let members create more personalized Web pages that included multimedia. Tagged (www.tagged.com) was introduced with a focus on teens who would build tag teams with members of like interests.”

And last, but not least, there’s LinkedIn. This social networking site is all about business – literally. It’s the business world’s Facebook! All of we “grown-ups” in the business world have heard that we should “network, network, network” for everything from finding a new job to finding more sales. But how do we do that efficiently in the 21st century – virtual networking on the Web thru sites like LinkedIn.

Since I’m a LinkedIn member, let me give you an example of how this business social network works. Not long ago I received an email via LinkedIn from a LinkedIn member who was not in my personal network, but found, by searching the LinkedIn database, that a member of my personal network worked for a company to whom this person wanted to make an offer of cooperation between his company and that of my connection.

Instead of blindly calling this other company hoping to find the right person and then sending that “title” an unsolicited offer, he reached out to me via his network of connections with a summary of his offer. I, in turn, was able to review the basics of that offer, agree that it was both legitimate and worthy of my personal LinkedIn connection’s time, and sent along the offer with a personal note stating that my connection should take a look at this offer.

Not only did the offer get sent to the right person, but it arrived with a personal endorsement from a connection in this person’s own LinkedIn network. The offer got the initial attention it deserved, and the two companies are now in discussions about this opportunity!

Social Bookmarking – (Wikipedia) – “Social Bookmarking is a way for Internet users to store, classify, share and search Internet bookmarks. On a Social Bookmarking system or network, users store lists of Internet resources that they find useful. These lists can be accessible to the public by users of a specific network or website. Other users with similar interests can view the links by topic, category, tags, or even randomly. Other than web page bookmarks, services specialized to a specific subject or format – feeds, books, videos, music, shopping items, map locations, wineries, etc. – can be found.”

At this writing, one of the most popular social bookmarking sites is del.icio.us. Here’s how they describe themselves:

“del.icio.us is a collection of favorites – yours and everyone else’s. You can use del.icio.us to:

o Keep links to your favorite articles, blogs, music, reviews, recipes, and more, and access them from any computer on the web.

o Share favorites with friends, family, coworkers, and the del.icio.us community.

o Discover new things. Everything on del.icio.us is someone’s favorite — they’ve already done the work of finding it. So del.icio.us is full of bookmarks about technology, entertainment, useful information, and more. Explore and enjoy.

del.icio.us is a social bookmarking website — the primary use of del.icio.us is to store your bookmarks online, which allows you to access the same bookmarks from any computer and add bookmarks from anywhere, too. On del.icio.us, you can use tags to organize and remember your bookmarks, which is a much more flexible system than folders.

You can also use del.icio.us to see the interesting links that your friends and other people bookmark, and share links with them in return. You can even browse and search del.icio.us to discover the cool and useful bookmarks that everyone else has saved — which is made easy with tags.”

Comparison Shopping – (Wikipedia) – “On the Internet, a price comparison service (also known as shopping comparison or price engine) allows individuals to see lists of prices for specific products. Most price comparison services do not sell products themselves, but source prices from retailers from whom users can buy. Major shopping comparison services in the USA include Shopper.com and NexTag.com“.

The Web 2.0 component of comparison shopping sites are the user (buyer) reviews of the sellers that are selling their products and/or services on these sites. For example, on NexTag.com, under the name of every company listed as a seller for a particular product, there’s a link called “Seller Reviews” that links potential buyers to ALL of the buyer reviews for that particular company.

Mobile Web – (Wikipedia) – “This (Mobile Web) refers to the World Wide Web as accessed from mobile devices such as cell (“smart”) phones, PDAs, and other pocketable gadgets connected to a public network.

Accessing the Mobile Web does not require a desktop computer. And since it can be accessed with a number of mobile devices, the Internet can now be accessed in remote places previously unconnected to the Internet. For example, medical information could be sent by a mountaineer in difficulty and received by rescuers.

Since the explosion of Web 2.0 applications over the last few years, some have been discussing how this technology can be applied to mobile devices. Probably the first technology to cross over onto mobile devices was the blog, resulting in the term moblog. Ajit Jaokar’s Open Gardens blog, takes this further, suggesting adapted versions of del.icio.us and flickr for mobile devices.

The usage of mobile devices can potentially affect tagging and sharing data. For example, tags for a visual image could be added at the point when the image is captured, based on physical location, time, and data from other users. Sharing data between mobile devices, for example using Bluetooth, would also depend on physical location: in fact data could be fixed to particular locations, a practice known as ‘air
graffiti’ or ‘splash messaging’ and enabled by a combination of spatial information and mapping feeds.

Other suggestions, including one for a ‘pocket wiki’ for syncing wikis written with mobile devices have also been put forward by the blog Web 2.5. While critics point to the difficulties of transferring Web 2.0 concepts such as open standards to the mobile web, advocates present it as a means of bringing information down to the user rather than pushing information up onto the web.”

Web Portals – (Webopedia) – “Commonly referred to as simply a portal, a Web site or service that offers a broad array of resources and services, such as e-mail, forums, search engines, and on-line shopping malls. The first Web portals were online services, such as AOL, that provided access to the Web, but by now most of the traditional search engines have transformed themselves into Web portals to attract and keep a larger audience.”

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Other Social Media (Web 2.0)-related terms:

Ajax/Flash – (Wikipedia) – “Ajax (also known as AJAX), shorthand for “Asynchronous JavaScript and XML,” is a development technique for creating interactive web applications. The intent is to make web pages feel more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes, so that the entire web page does not have to be reloaded each time the user requests a change. This is intended to increase the web page’s interactivity, speed, and usability.”

“Adobe Flash, or simply Flash, refers to both the Adobe Flash Player, and to the Adobe Flash Professional multimedia authoring program. Adobe Flash Professional is used to create content for the
Adobe Engagement Platform (such as web applications, games and movies, and content for mobile phones and other embedded devices). The Flash Player, developed and distributed by Adobe Systems (which acquired Macromedia in 2005 in a merger that was finalized in December 2006), is a client application available in most common web browsers…

Since its introduction in 1996, Flash technology has become a popular method for adding animation and interactivity to web pages; several software products, systems, and devices are able to create or display Flash. Flash is commonly used to create animation, advertisements, various web-page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more recently, to develop rich Internet
applications.”

Folksonomies – (Wikipedia) “A folksonomy is a user generated taxonomy used to categorize and retrieve web content such as Web pages, photographs and Web links, using open ended labels called tags. Typically, folksonomies are Internet-based, but their use may occur in other contexts.

The folksonomic tagging is intended to make a body of information increasingly easy to search, discover, and navigate over time. A well-developed folksonomy is ideally accessible as a shared vocabulary that is both originated by, and familiar to, its primary users. Two widely cited examples of websites using folksonomic tagging are Flickr and del.icio.us (also called a “social bookmarking” Web site – see “Social Bookmarking” above), although it has been suggested that Flickr is not a good example of folksonomy.”

RSS – (Wikipedia) – “RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts. Users of RSS content use software programs called “feed readers” or “feed aggregators”. The user subscribes to a feed by entering a link to the feed into the reader program. The reader can then check the user’s subscribed feeds to see if any of those feeds have new content since the last time it checked, and if so, retrieve that content and present it to the user.”

The most popular explanation of what the initials “RSS” actually stand for is “Really Simple Syndication”.

Click on the following link to review the RSS feed for my Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog.

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Next – Part II – Examples of Social Media Marketing

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