Social Media Marketing and the importance of Strategic Thinking.

As someone who has worked in marketing and advertising industry for 20 years, I am obsessed with the “game changer” that is upon us – SOCIAL MEDIA. The proper use of it will determine the winners in the landscape as we move forward and may also decide the course of the SM tools themselves.

Nearly 25 years ago, I was fortunate to be an active participant from the inside of an emerging industry that came to be known as Desktop Publishing. This new phrase had entered the mainstream and I was the art director at MACazine (a nat’l Macintosh computer magazine) when the Macintosh was changing the face of design, publishing, typesetting, pre-press and so much more. I was in my 20’s teaching guys in their 60’s about the power of this little 9″ b/w Mac. I was also aware that these seasoned pros provided me with a wealth of knowledge that I had not yet learned, and believe me, I listened to them.

The personal computer in those early days didn’t make someone a good designer or a writer, but rather it was simply a new tool that could be used by someone with the proper skills. At that time, I also witnessed the downfall of quality craftsmanship in design, the lack of understanding of color theory, horrific typography and the list goes on. It seemed that everyone was a desktop publisher and every company had a product to sell you for this emerging industry.

I fear the same bad behavior is taking place in SM and for that reason I am focusing my attention on the ever evolving medium, in order to better serve the needs of my clients. Social media is a powerful tool, that is coming into its own, some say it is in its infancy, others say toddler years. I’m not sure if SM is in diapers or not; but one thing for certain, it is eating up everything in sight and growing exponentially every day!

The POWER of SM as a marketing tool lies in it’s immediacy and the potential global exposure from a single source. Another consideration of the SM growth can be attributed to the two and three way communication and at times millions of individuals actively participating in a discussion. Can you imagine a fan of the Beatles at the hight of their fame, being able to TWEET them? Or perhaps General MacArthur during WWII having a blog?  Well – that is where we live today! 

Because of my obsession with the SM tools available, and my understanding of the critical importance of strategic thinking, I have sought out those at the top of their game in the SM world. I have found that they are leading the cause because they GET it. They understand the power of the medium and to that point, they also may be what protects it from burning out or devolving into something it shouldn’t be. 

As in any marketing discussion… please remember to have a strategic plan with a creative message that hits a specific target with a goal in mind before you move forward.  Business Development, Market Research, Competitor Analysis, Product Development, Market Development, Pricing Strategy, Public Relations, Events, Customer Service, Promotions, Brand Development, Corporate Identity, Grassroots all may play a part.  Basically, do the hard homework.

As you navigate the Social Medial landscape to find the tools that work best for your needs, I share with you a few urls.

 

Guy Kawasaki has hit a home run with Alltop. I recently set mine up and am just scratching the surface. http://my.alltop.com/johnayers  You may also want to look into http://www.tumblr.com

Another important tool. See if it works for you. http://friendfeed.com/

Tweetdeck and Seesmic: If you don’t know these, you will and you should. I use Tweetdeck because of it’s iPhone sync capabilities, but you can check this out. http://tinyurl.com/lx3j5a

And speaking of Twitter… Sean’s honesty is refreshing. Top 5 Things Ruining Twitter  http://tinyurl.com/mmuduy

Oh, and how about Co-Tweet – Jury still out for me on this, as I am trying to become a beta tester… but I love this concept.  https://cotweet.com/ I love this because of my interest in co-branding. I am so interested in this subject that a personal, professional and hybrid or co-branding story may be an upcoming post of mine.

Dan Schawbel does a great job here. http://personalbrandingblog.com/

Visit tinychat… it is an incredibly simple too that could change the way we communicate, inform and entertain. http://tinychat.com/

For an encycolpedia of all things SM related and more. MASH  http://mashable.com/

Go Mobile: We all will be eventually, you’re better off doing it now – if you haven’t already. With video, audio, gps, email, sm, grassroots, tweetups, and beyond it is where our kids will live. I have a first gen iPhone and have an itch to get the 3GS. 

Why am I here? Not in the esoteric way… I mean why am I on Posterous? Lifestream that’s why. Check out http://www.steverubel.com/

50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence on.  This list actually goes against my instinct (which is to use what works best) but here you go.

I know it’s a lot, and I have left some out, but these are some that rise to the top of my list.

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