Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Response Meter

The Rise of Social Media

A few years ago, the term “social media” was just a buzzword for many business-to-business and consumer publishing/media companies. But with print advertising on the decline and more and more readers getting their news and information online, media companies have needed to adapt quickly to the changing times and current economic climate by having a presence on social media websites like Facebook, Linked In, YouTube and Twitter. Audience development professionals have had to adapt too.

Audience development professionals and marketers within these companies are being called upon to not only help set up an online presence on these various social media websites, but also to drive and track traffic and collect as much demographic information as they can. The primary focus right now for most publishing and media companies is not only for survival, but also for generating as much brand and product exposure as possible, which they hope will ultimately lead to more site traffic, more potential partnerships and ultimately, more sales.

The problem that many audience development professionals, CEO’s and publishers are having with these social media websites is how to take the site traffic and demographic information from these sites and use it effectively as a sales and advertising tool. The Interactive Advertising Bureau is currently in the process of creating a way to do just that with their “Social Advertising and Best Practices” document which contains definitions of crucial elements of social advertising, as well as policies on opt-in and opt-out practices. This I believe will eventually lead to the creation of the social media equivalent of a BPA/ABC statement which will give potential advertisers the ability to see a company’s traffic and demographic information in a quantifiable format. In fact, BPA is currently beta testing an interactive audit that hopes to include a company’s social media site traffic as well as information on a company’s other silos, whether they be magazines, enewsletters, trade shows and/or website.

In the meanwhile, audience developers will need to learn on the fly about social media optimization as well as obtain more online skills. Terms like RSS feeds, blogs, social bookmarking, tagging and photo sharing need to be added to their collective consciousness. They’ll also need to get familiar with web analytic tools like Google, Omniture, and WebTrends, etc.

It looks like social media is here to stay, whether we, as audience developers like it or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment