Social media is not going to go away any more than the internet is, and it is essential that you begin to incorporate social media into your online marketing campaigns. Social media relates to deep, human, psychological traits – the need to communicate, share and be heard – and as such its rise and rise should be no surprise.
What is fast becoming obvious as more data becomes available is that ‘share’ is the new search, as Joanna Shields, Facebook EMEA recently stated. Word of mouth, or more accurately, word of mouse, recommendations are quickly helping internet marketers achieve results that would have been difficult if not impossible in a purely email driven world.
A recent survey by CNN showed the effect of recommended content on engagement and brand loyalty during internet marketing campaigns. There is a noticeably higher uplift for advertisers who seek placements around shared stories (19%), and the impact on brand takeup by those who received the shared stories eg from friends and colleagues, was a fairly impressive 27%.
A survey by SocialTwist shows that social media is fast catching up on email for recommendations, although how much this says about early and late adopters is unclear. There are still many, particularly in the corporate world, who have not caught on to social media yet and do not have the required accounts to use SocialTwist’s Tell a Friend socmed widgets.
However, what is perhaps more interesting is that social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook showed a far higher percentage of referrals and clickthroughs than emails, blogs or IM. And the winner on clickthroughs was Twitter; however, the calculations on CTR would seem slightly distorted.
When using tools such as Seesmic, Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to monitor tweets, it is far easier to spot a tweet of interest than it is to filter through the timeline on Facebook. Plus, whilst Facebook may have the Share feature, those using Facebook are more likely to maintain their close circle of friends than expand every outwards as people using Twitter tend to. Therefore, the likelihood of being retweeted is likely to be higher than a Share on Facebook, where you probably already share many of the same circle of friends with the person recommending the link, video, blog post or other content.
As more data is collected about social media marketing and usage, there is little to dispel the growing belief that internet marketing has to include at least a vestige of social media in order to reap success during the coming decade.