This past week, Alisa Phanchalad wrote an article on Business2Community reminding Marketers that Social Media is a channel, not a strategy. The author emphasized that social media must be integrated with multiple marketing channels as part of a broader strategy. The author went on to say that the more channels you add, the more likely your strategy is to succeed and not fall over, similar to a table and its legs. Alisa has brought up many good points, but we would like to add to her story in order to paint a better picture of where we believe that the future of social media is headed.
Adding more channels just for the sake of doing so will not necessarily increase the success of your marketing. The quality of the channel must be taken into consideration, especially when trying to engage and reach as many members of your target market as possible. Brands need to understand their target market’s media consumption behaviours. Are they 18-25 year-olds who spend hours socialising and shopping via their smartphones and no longer watch television? If so, then an above-the-line television campaign will do nothing to further your marketing efforts. A brand can spend thousands of dollars across multiple channels but may only see results from half of them if they are not carefully chosen. However, it is important to integrate your marketing communications for a synergistic effect.
MePlease believes that social media is soon to be more than just a channel but a place. Unlike traditional media such as TV, Radio, and other ATL, consumers are spending many hours of their lives “living” online on social media platforms and performing a lot of their activities on them as well. Consumers are continually sharing as they shop, research, listen to music, watch movies, and socialize. AMEX has leveraged the fact that many of their customers live on social media by introducing AMEX Sync (Amex Go Social and Link>Like>Love), thereby rewarding customers for their online social behaviour and providing value for merchants. We also really like Shopycat as an example of a social place. It analyzes your Facebook friends’ likes and dislikes and recommends gifts for you to purchase through Wal-Mart’s app on Facebook.
The next evolution we foresee is that social media will become a platform where many relationships are initiated and continue to be built off of one another. A great example would be the partnership between Foursquare and Amex. In recent news, Facebook has talked about offering a bank service, or at least providing banking facilities for customers, and because brands are able to set up online shops right on their own Facebook Pages, these online transactions could be easier than ever. When coupled with the fact that Facebook now provides all users with an @facebook.com email address in addition to their current platform for socializing, gaming, and sharing, Facebook is poised to become a one-stop-shop for all of its users’ online needs. First, brands need to learn that social media is no longer a one-way publishing street, but a place where brands and customers engage and learn about each other.
What do you think readers? Do you have any examples of social media evolving to become places and platforms? Do you agree or disagree? Leave your comments below!
Words by: Griselda Zhou