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What is social marketing?

Social marketing is developing into a number of channels as opposed to the single unified channel that we’ve often treated it as in the last four or five years. In fact, the dominant attribute is third party opinion, the value of it to consumers. We have learned not so much to trust brands and messages but to consider our options. The evaluation process has expanded rapidly, and a lot of that is to do with the fact that we can access an inordinate amount of information on mobile phones as we’re going through the buying process, both whether at home or whether we’re out in the built environment. Shops for example, high streets, we are considering our options.
And often what we’re looking for is third party opinion and review. These individuals who have become so dominant in the social sphere are called influencers. So it doesn’t really matter whether we’re looking at YouTube or Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat or LinkedIn, all of which have their own unique qualities to engage with audiences, sometimes on multiple occasions during the day, as I refer to them for means of keeping in touch with the communities, their families, their extended communities, and business, or within interest groups, shall we say. It’s also useful in its evolving means of communicating to these large groups of interested parties, socially connected groups, through advertising.
So there is a big shift at the moment in social channels, regardless of which one you consider. That is, A, we need to look for the influencers. But B, we also are using it because there’s a critical mass that’s developed, and obviously the social channels want to monetize the value that’s inherent in the size of the audience, which is often in hundreds of millions on a daily basis globally as an advertising medium. So Facebook, for example, is pushing very hard to carry advertising. It’s building in lots of buying features that are very similar to either the results you can out of a search engine. They’re apparently going to build in search facilities as well.
And they’re going to build in pricing units as well. If you look at another fast evolving and I think commercially very useful social channel for us, that’s Pinterest, in which people curate their collections of photographs, images, infographics that somehow help them make sense of, for example, preparing for a wedding, decorating their house, the design things they’re interested in, types of architecture, any kind of visual imagery. And we’re a very visually oriented culture. It makes sense to be able to say, well OK, you’re interested in that. Why don’t we facilitate you being able to buy that as well or at least share that with other people who may then be interested in buying it?
And so social is at that kind of cusp at the moment, somewhere between building communities, regardless of whether they’re visual orientated or collecting orientated or sharing orientated, or even in the case of Twitter, news orientated. It is often another means for advertisers to reach large numbers of audiences. And that makes it really one of the most fast evolving mediums in digital marketing.

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Understanding Social Media Strategy

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