Last Thursday, I accompanied Meghan and Rebecca to the Social Media Marketing Conference in Charlotte. It was an interesting conference for two reasons: it was non-library in nature and it featured participants from a wide range of experiences— novice to “maven”. (“Maven” is the preferred term for those well-versed in social media because of the changing nature.) I was mildly skeptical of the conference when it began because, as Meghan said in her report, the conference was strongly rooted in a corporate perspective. However, there were certainly takeaways from the conference that were relevant to everyone in attendance.
The concept of marketing was clear from the beginning of the day. Being able to tell the story of how and why an organization fulfills its mission statement is a concern that isn’t limited to libraries and higher education. Communicating the goals, values and overall story of an organization with current and potential customers/patrons is a common matter that social media can help to address. Social media falls into three broad categories: networking (Facebook), promoting (Flickr) and sharing (Yelp). From there, data from analyzing social media platforms through listening tools (Google Alerts and socialmention) as well as metrics (such as Quantcast) can used to assess effectiveness, tailor messages, and develop an ongoing strategy for establishing vital and growing connections on the platforms.
Social media does have added value for being interesting. Here are a few items that caught my attention, both old and new:
- The second largest search engine, after Google, is YouTube.
- Social media has shifted the focus of marketing from outbound (interruption-based) to inbound (permission-based).
- As baby boomers grow as Facebook users, millennials have left it for other platforms. If you want to see what those platforms are, take a look at this article.
- A protest song that affected a company’s brand and bottom line: “United Breaks Guitars”.
- Who’s using social media sites, as of January 2014.
Indeed, social media is here to stay and it will evolve as rapidly as its users. As we remain flexible to these possibilities, it’s important to note who those users are and how they can be reached.