As more and more companies are looking to utilize the power of social networks for advertising and marketing purposes, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:
•See beyond the assumed customer base. Marketers need to recognize that influencers are not always the current customers for their company’s products and services—they also may be former customers who have become dissatisfied, fans of your competitors, or simply people who have strong opinions about your market. The ability to see beyond your own customer base is an important skill for social media engagement.
•Redefine what "advertising" means. It’s not just about placing an ad any more. Marketers don’t necessarily associate "influencer marketing" with hard metrics, but the dense network of links that power social media conversations enables consumers reading their favorite blogs to quickly jump to the kind of content that will trigger a purchase.
•Take a multi-pronged approach. In social media, traditional online ad placement isn’t enough to engage your potential customers—participation is a key step. Comment on the blogs of key influencers. Write your own posts in order to challenge them on important topics. Join in the conversation instead of waiting for the conversation to come to you.
•If it’s not working, change course. If this is your first foray into a social media advertising effort, don’t invest too much in the first campaign. Do it quick, do it cheaply, and change strategies if needed. The good news is that social media—with its low cost of entry and speed of access—lends itself well to this kind of marketing journey.
Rob Crumpler President and CEO BuzzLogic San Francisco