Identifying Marketing Opportunity through Social Networks

When you are interested in building a Social Media Plan as a part of your larger marketing program, you will need to understand all about the various Social Media channels and only then will you be able to arrive at a mix of channels and mediums that are provide the right opportunity for you to build your online reputation.

Internet Usage - Then and Now

Ever since internet brought the world closer, a new culture or lifestyle has evolved around the net. In the early stages, with limited bandwidth, connectivity and slower speeds, individuals logged on to the net from time to time to check emails, to check out different information that they found useful.

With availability of higher speed and bandwidth people began to log in to play games, watch news, study and invest into the stock market etc. This meant that the time they spent using the internet increased significantly.

Now if you review the scene, you will find that most homes and offices have their internet connections ‘On’ all through the day and people are beginning to depend upon the internet for a lot more things including shopping, entertainment and majorly into interacting and socializing with friends. Thus Social Networks have become a part and parcel of daily living. Every individual tends to be a part of one or several social networks and online communities which he keeps getting into and checking out from time to time.

TV & Print Media Advertisements

What does the above development mean to an advertiser or a marketing professional?. At this juncture it helps to understand a bit of the psyche of individuals and their online behavior.

It is a well known common fact that advertisements on the TV and Print media are ignored largely by the audience.

It is at the time of a commercial break that people choose to move away from the TV to attend to their personal needs and come back to watching TV when the actual program begins again.

Everyone considers TV advertisements to be an unwelcome interruption over which they have no control.

Advertising & Building Brand through Social Networks

In the social networks, there are several opportunities for placing advertisement banners and pop ups. It is possible to build a media rich and interactive advertisement banner and exhibit it prominently on Google, My Space and other important sites. Besides you can also use the embedded marketing applications that are available on various sites to build your brand image.

As compared to TV and other mediums, online advertisements have a better chance of being viewed by the audience as they are placed on the websites which one is visiting. However the fact that individuals do get to see the ad banners a little longer than their viewing of TV and other advertisements need not contribute to building a significant brand image. At the most, it might help build a awareness or brand recall.

The real game changer for the advertiser would be the social network communities and their discussions that are taking place all the time.

A smart social media expert understands the context of the online community and be able to feel the pulse of the audience. When he understands that the participants are taking part in social interaction and that everyone is interested in contributing to the discussion as well as listening to others, finding facts, sharing opinions etc, he sees the opportunity to be able to match the needs of the online community with the content that he is able to provide.

When you are able to provide transparent and useful facts or content, you will find the community engaging in continuous conversations and discussions with you. When they find that your contributions are of use to them and help them, they are likely to become your customers and can become evangelists as well.

Therefore participating in the discussions, influencing the discussions and opinions while continuing to respect the values and beliefs that the community holds together would become your game plan.

This then is the most important and direct opportunity that you as a marketing professional would get to connect with your target audience, to cultivate relationship, to help convert opportunities into sales and more importantly build a reputation for your brand as well as your Company.

Apart from the direct online participation, you can also use some of the marketing applications that come with the Social Networks. From the entertainment based applications including Sneding Karma, Vampire Bites to Social Vibe, Graffiti Wall and Product Pulse can be effective in helping you build your online reputation consistently.

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