New media, which encompasses all aspects of online marketing, such as social media marketing, blogging, comment marketing, and more, is everywhere we look these days. It's almost impossible to find ads even in traditional media that don't point to a company's Facebook and Twitter pages, and the web is replete with blog posts, e-books, websites, you name it, talking about how to market using new media. Still, many business owners are struggling to figure it all out and make new media work for their business.
In Neil Rosen's new book, Chatter Marketing: Putting the Relationship Back in Customer Relationship Management, he helps to shed light on this important topic and shows entrepreneurs not only the importance of new media marketing, but how to use it effectively. Chatter Marketing is an excellent book for anyone who wants to truly engage with customers and potential customers to build a community of interested "bought in" individuals. I highly recommend it and am pleased to have had the opportunity to ask Neil some questions about the book and his marketing philosophy.
Matthew: Your book, Chatter Marketing, focuses on how businesses can use new media to attain and keep customers. How is the Social Web uniquely positioned to accomplish this?
Neil: Marketers so far have been playing catch-up on the web, spending their time and resources protecting their brand, including spending a fortune buying their own brand keywords on the search engines.
But marketers have one great advantage. They already have relationships with their customers. And the social aspects of the web are uniquely able to help marketers leverage those relationships, get the "first look" at what their customers are doing, have the "first transaction opportunity" with their customers. But they need to get pro-active.
Marketers need to reverse the keyword flow structure and truly follow their customers and listen to what they are doing and saying. They need to know what keywords their customers will be typing into the search engines before they get to the search engines, and communicate with them early in the process"again, before they get to the search engines. They need their customer communications to be intuitive in order to make shopping from them the most convenient possible customer experience.
Next companies need to identify their ambassadors, enthusiasts, and influencers, and (especially by using email and social campaigns) leverage this group of people to become the brand's sales force and help build business.
Matthew: If a small business owner is new to social media, what is one important step he or she should take to begin using it effectively?
Neil: The first step is to tune in — monitor what is being said online about your company within your specific competitive market (I call these micro-competitive environments). The competitive aspect is crucial and creates a context for everything being said about a specific brand. Monitoring your own brand without listening to the competitive chatter specific to your market can create serious misconceptions and misrepresentations about how your brand is viewed in the marketplace.
And the second step is just to "get in the game." Use the major social sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to get started, maintain consistent activity on each of these sites, and listen and learn what happens as you are building your presence. Don't try to do everything at once. Create a solid presence in a few places and make sure the campaigns you execute build positive brand reputation — when you see that happening consistently think about expanding the presence.
Matthew: What is one key take-away that you want everyone to get from Chatter Marketing?
Neil: That for both marketers and consumers the social internet creates opportunities to develop a level of convenience in shopping that will strengthen customer relationships beyond anything in history. Loyalty is not dead, it has simply been put on hold until brands (and service providers) figure out how to best take advantage of these opportunities.
Matthew: Do you propose different marketing strategies for each social platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)?
Neil: I think companies need to work with service providers who know the space and not try to do it in-house without the proper expertise. The social space is both volatile and persistent (which is not an oxymoron!). Brand reputations can be dramatically grown and/or significantly harmed overnight, with the effects lasting far longer than what marketers are used to seeing offline, and the same strategies that drive positive brand reputation on Facebook may not have the same effect on Twitter or LinkedIn. Campaigns and strategies need to be carefully tested and monitored to understand the influence they are having on specific social environments before being launched, and this takes a high level of experience and expertise.
Matthew: As a new media and Web 2.0 expert, looking to the future of technology, what do you see for "Web 3.0" and how do you think social media will evolve?
Neil: The more people think things change, the more they remain the same. With online marketing it is still all about something Seth Godin talked about many years ago: interruptions. People still react negatively to interruptive marketing. So the trend for 3.0 and beyond will be toward technologies that seamlessly integrate relevant marketing content directly into chatter, where the chatter itself defines the content and the promotions that are included in the conversations.
In addition, the privacy conversation is going to go away as technologies do a better job of filtering personal data, and as people become comfortable that the data driving marketers excludes personal information.
Matthew Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Adam. Matthew is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.