Social Media And You

Over the past two years, the marketing landscape has changed. Email marketing used to be the main forte behind online marketing, but as the web landscape changes, so to do our customers. The birth of this new landscape has given rise to a whole host of new media outlets and some old ones reborn. From mash ups, like Trulia; to user generated content, like Myspace; this new Web 2.0 landscape requires us to re-evaluate old marketing concepts and approaches to marketing in a way like never before. Below, I’ll document some important concepts for the beginner and for the experienced marketer wanting to find their edge in the new Web 2.0.

Wikinomics

Don Tapscott wrote a great book called Wikinomics in which he shows how mass collaboration changes everything. The birth of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia one of the biggest milestones. Wikipedia is based on the idea that one person or a group of individuals don’t need to have monopolistic control over the content of a website. So the website was born out of the idea that the public keeps it current and the information accurate. Wikipedia has turned out to be one of the largest sources of online reference material on the web today. And it’s growth is only a primary example of the way that user generated content can change the landscape.

User generated content is the biggest piece of the new puzzle. Sites likeMyspace and Facebook and private blogs have given the general public a voice and a place in the web that has never been as prevalent in the past. Coupled with the popularity of such features and the general free availability of the services, the popularity has grown to business owners and even some Fortune 500 companies too.

In fact, many search marketers are big proponents behind blogs and user generated content because of it offers fresh content and helps prevent latent semantic indexing from dropping you off the charts. And new generation marketers are big proponents because it gets the consumer behind that corporate wall and gives them a snapshot of who you are and what your company stands for.

Web 2.0 is also about user involvement and interaction. Both Pepsi and Coca Cola have shown this in a big way. It used to be that you could buy a Coke, take the cap off and know instantly whether you are are winner in one of their big contests. Now you have to log in to a website and enter a code to know if you’ve won. The biggest goals they are after here are demographics and user involvement. If you can excite a user, involve the user and even entertain the user, all the while gaining their trust and a bit of their information, you’ve got a gold-mine. Sales gurus would kill for this type of lead. This type of user involvement wasn’t easy and with the state-less way that the web is, a major change needed to occur to the way developers created websites to increase the satisfaction and the usability of website. Developers got just what they needed

Ajax

About 2 1/2 years ago developers stumbled across a technology that has been and will forever change the web development landscape. Developers discovered that when you combine the XML and Javascript, that you could get partial page reloads on websites. In layman’s terms, a website didn’t have to refresh the entire page in order for data to be transferred. Developers quickly enabled pages, forms and even database queries with this new technology. The benefit it gave the marketing landscape was the ability to have a website be much closer to the performance of a desktop application (The speed isn’t quite there, but it is a significant improvement).

Media Sharing

The other significant change in the new marketing landscape is the emergence of media sharing. A whole host of sites have emerged to help users organize, publish and store online media. Flickr, MediaMax, Box.net, have allowed for the storage and publication of photos causing a plethora of users to begin sharing their digital memories online. Sites like YouTube and JibJab, have allowed users to become their own media producer beginning a new wave of podcast and vodcasts. This has allowed seemingly unknown people to become virtual celebrities publishing their often humorous creations online.

The new marketer

So where does this put you. Where does it lead the old media marketer to begin to reach this new generation of Google-informed buyers and sellers who want nothing more than an honest deal (and, they’ll admit it, a little attention). The new marketer can benefit from this new landscape by becoming involved. Looking for ways to get to know these consumers on the same level. To find innovative ways to involve the consumer in the process and keep them informed. A new marketer needs to be fluent in the same technologies that your consumer is.

This means getting down into the nitty-gritty. Becoming a user of Myspace and storing digital media online; creating a blog and showing the consumer a different side of you even if it means showing some vacation photos with you in those hideous green pants. Knowing and engaging with the consumer on a more technologically savvy level is what will get you into their mind.