Friday, February 06, 2009

Reading :: Social Media Marketing an Hour a Day

Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day
By Dave Evans

I'm not terribly familiar with marketing, but I know that some social media marketers were fairly forward-thinking regarding the broad social implications of social media. The Cluetrain Manifesto was an early contender, but many others have followed. And they've built their arguments on the same essential insight that Cluetrain provided, which is that social media entails a shift from broadcast to dialogue, impressions to conversations, and information to participation. Many fields and disciplines are feeling the effects of social or participative media on their own practices, most obviously marketing and advertising, but also journalism, education, and of course my own subfield, technical communication.

Turning these disciplinary ships takes a long time, so the message bears repeating and developing. And that's where Dave Evans' Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day comes in. Evans has been in marketing for a long time and has done much of that work in social media, so he has developed a fuller understanding of the media's permutations and how to operate in them. Here, he supplies background, operating frames, and even exercises and worksheets to get marketers up to speed on the new landscape. He starts with the basic message of The Cluetrain Manifesto -- becoming a proper social media marketer means giving up control and instead participating in conversations in order to build up the social capital that affords influence in that space -- and develops that message in terms of practical applications. For instance, he extends the traditional funnel model into a social feedback model, taking into account the lateral communication among purchasers and potential purchasers. In this new space, he says, marketing efforts are less about what the marketer has to say and more about what the consumer needs to know now (p.86).

The social web, he points out, is being reorganized around connections between sites rather than around specific sites (p.265).

With these lessons in mind, he develops metrics for social media marketing, crystallizing around content, relevance, and impact (p.295).

Although the book is for social media marketers, I see many potential lessons for other content providers such as technical communicators. In particular, holding conversations with users, facilitating their connections, and reorganizing around web services rather than tightly controlled sites are all steps that could be productively implemented in formal documentation. I hope they will be - and Evans' book is a good place to begin thinking about what this would entail.

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