Category Archives: twitter

Social Media Marketing’s growing importance

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the roles new online channels will play, and indeed much derision from some as to the impact Twitter can have as a marketing channel. The release of a number of reports and survey results help to show the growing importance of these social media channels for marketers going forward.

A survey of 18,000 marketers at Online Marketing Blog found that the top ten digital marketing tactics which marketers are planning to use in 2009 are:

  • Blogging (34%)
  • Twitter (29%)
  • Search engine optimization (28%)
  • Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%)
  • Email marketing (17%)
  • Social media monitoring & outreach (17%)
  • Pay per click (14%)
  • Blogger relations (12%)
  • Video marketing (10%)
  • Social media advertising (7%)

Out of the top ten, six of these can be considered to be social marketing.

At present the top sectors currently engaging in social media include: retail, consumer goods & services, high tech, media & entertainment, automotive, financial services, Government and Travel. This list closely mirrors the top spenders on online advertising at present and it’s no wonder as Hitwise numbers show that social media is now driving 7.1% of traffic to e-tailers up from 5.2% in 2008. Hitwise figures also show that the importance of paid search, though still vital for online retailers has fallen from 27.8% in 2008 to 22.5% in March 2009.

Therefore it comes as no surprise to see that of the Top 500 e-tailers 56.8% have a presence on the social networking site, 41.4% or are on, 28.6%, are on and 20.4% are using, according to Internet Retailer.

These reports help to substantiate the importance of social media marketing and demonstrate that we’re likely to see advertising budgets moving away from traditional online channels in 2009 and towards social media marketing.

The growth of social media marketing is an opportunity for many but for those companies who are not ready for social media marketing and those who aren’t currently planning for it this should serve as a timely wake-up call. Brands need to begin testing to see how they can best use social media to develop ongoing communications with customers and find ways to integrate social media into their current marketing mix.

Companies who aren’t planning to use social media as part of their marketing could find themselves playing an expensive game of catch-up.

Skittles becomes social

Skittles have launched a new website, well in fact they’ve launched a lot of links to various web 2.0 and social media sites where their customers are talking about them. The homepage shows various chatter about Skittles on Twitter Search and other navigation links point to their Facebook page, YouTube for Video and Wikipedia for product information.

Skittles parent company, Mars, have essentially handed over control of their homepage to Twitter users, and with updates in real time you can see both positive and negative comments posted. It’s a big step away from the traditional use of websites in FMCG for delivering controlled messages to consumers but a very interesting experiment in social media. The novelty of this move will no doubt generate a lot of press coverage and exposure in blogs and social media for Skittles.

The website launch has certainly got people talking, the Twittersphere is abuzz today with mentions of Skittles (and indeed some nostalgic purchasing of Skittles it would seem). However as the buzz around this launch settles I wonder if people will still be talking about Skittles on Twitter. In fact the design of the website seems to suggest that a more traditional homepage may be waiting in the wings, with separate links for Home and Chatter both pointing to Twitter Search at the moment.

Skittles have taken a brave step into this new world and I’m sure we’ll see many companies follow with a more gentle integration of social media into their online presence in the coming months.

Facebook for the old and the young

There’s been lots of discussion about the aging of Facebook recently. This doesn’t feel like a new phenomenon to me as quite a few of my own Facebook friends are in fact my aunts and uncles having mastered email and even Skype and now joining Facebook to see what it’s all about, and maybe even see what their kids are up to!

What has struck me recently is that the younger generation have stopped using what we’d see as traditional online communications channels like email. By looking at traffic to Facebook versus email sites we can see the impact already. Younger users don’t have the same need for email now that they have Bebo, Facebook and the likes. My 18 year old cousin has been a big user of social networking for many years, spending an unnatural amount of time glued to Bebo. And her first foray into email just happened recently, out of necessity, as she started college and was given a student email account.

How she and the rest of her generation will use online channels for communications in future remains to be seen. However what we can be sure of is that marketeers will need to continue to adapt and allow customers to choose how and where they want to communicated with, be that on Facebook, Bebo, Twitter or on email.