Understanding Social Web from Marketing Viewpoint

If you sit back and look at the kind of traffic that is going through the Internet, you might be surprised. At any given point of time millions of people are exchanging messages, chatting and conversing with one another. We might very well assume that the percentage of people using the various social network channels to communicate with one another would be much larger that the online trading and other commercial transactions taking place.

Logging into internet and chatting, downloading movies, music, reading reviews, participating in discussions, listening to podcasts and SMS etc have become a part of the lifestyle of every household across the world. This is true in case of retired persons, housewives, and working professionals to children of all ages. Everybody is able to find something relevant and useful in the social web.

When millions are talking to one another, they are essentially talking about a particular topic of interest or sharing their experiences etc. Such conversations generate a lot of word to mouth publicity to various products and services that the individuals are talking about. Thus the marketers find it a great opportunity to harvest the social web for potential customers who are interested in their products.

To be able to use the social web as an effective marketing tool, the marketing professionals have got to understand all about the social web and how it works. Social web works differently from other forms of media including visual media. Social web networks are largely driven by content that is produced by the collective community that engages in conversation. Such conversations build opinions and influence the decisions of the prospective customers. Reviews, Discussions, ratings and comments etc provide measurable feedback from the customers who have experienced the products and services that they are referring to.

At this juncture it is important for the Marketers to remember that the social web channels are controlled not by them but by the participants. The two main characteristic features of this medium where in people engage in conversation are that it gives rise to word of mouth publicity or opinion and an element of trust exists between the individuals and communities that are engaging in discussions. Taking the above into account, the marketers have got to come up with strategy of how to influence the opinions and make way for positive experience for the prospective customers.

If you analyze the composition of the participants engaging in discussions in the social web, there are principally two categories of people. First is the category that has already purchased, used and experienced your product or service and the second category belongs to those who have not purchased or used and this category includes prospective customers who are participating in the discussions only because they are interested in considering to make a purchase at a future point of time.

Therefore the social media becomes a channel that connects those who have experienced the product to those that are waiting to experience the product. If this concept is clearly understood by the marketing personnel, they would be able to devise ways of harnessing the social web as a medium for influencing and selling to the prospective customers successfully.

A marketing manager should be able to first identify the buying process and map it clearly to be able to get into the field of social web and build prospective sales conversion channel out of the prospective customer base.

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