Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How Will Non-Social Companies Become Social Online?

This year will likely see an increase in the number of brands using social marketing to reach consumers. In 2007, as many as 48 percent of brand marketers will deploy marketing on social networking channels. Last year, about 38 percent were messaging on the channel.

Adoption of social marketing tactics stems from the discovery "30 percent of frequent social networkers trust their peers' opinions when making a major purchase decision, but only 10 percent trust an advertisement," said Emily Riley, JupiterResearch analyst and lead author of the report.

To demonstrate the power of such sites, Rinaldo cites a recent post by Hillary Clinton to Yahoo Answers. The presidential hopeful posted a question about the healthcare system, and received over 37,000 responses. "Monitoring social networking sites and other Web 2.0 venues is seen as important, but having a presence on these sites is possibly more important. "I think that many advertisers, even those with fear, understand that if they're not there it's worse than getting negative feedback," said Riley. "It's more important to be there with some risk than not be there at all. Your competitor will surely be there."

I know certain types of companies get good responses from creating their own profile pages on sites such as Myspace, but the niche businesses that actually succeed in drawing an audience already have a social audience. Bars, tattoo shops, and chic restaurants are some of the only Myspace business sites I have visited. The reason these businesses have such large Myspace networks is because the establishments themselves are places where people go and create a social network. The customers then go home and look to keep their relationship with the business and it's other customers by joining the online network. How will companies that don't have a lifestyle or social element tied to their brand, such as tech and service companies, make these networks work for them?

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