Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome to the Class


Welcome to the class and I hope you find it an very enjoyable and rewarding experience.

The first assigned readings, Secrets of Social Media Marketing (Gillin) pp. 1-94 set the tone for almost any social media program. The emphasis is on embracing change, something most people do not handle very well, particularly in an organizational environment. The real-world of work often is a risk averse environment where people are not rewarded for creative and innovative ideas but rather for how well they maintain the "status quo" and curry favor with their immediate superiors. This environment, to a great extent, represents a barrier to social media initiatives.

The author also highlights a number of other issues of importance to marketers and illustrates the power of social media with some excellent real world examples, Blendtec, etc.

The author makes several points worth discussing or reflecting on. First, social media is perfect for organizations that have more time than money. As indicated on page 17, "social media is cheap." Well, Deborah indicated that it is not cheap, but she meant that it does require time--traditional promotional campaigns also require time and entail hundreds of thousands of dollars--something social media seldom requires. Why are advertising revenues declining for daily newspapers, magazines, etc?

The author also indicates that social media is not simply for B2C companies, but is also of great value in B2B firms. Last semester our Practicum course, offered in the spring semester, had one B2B firm in the client list and social media is as relevant to them as it is to the Louisville Zoo (another firm that we worked with last semester).

In chapter 2 the author makes a very good point--"Start with the business goal, not the tools" stating that tools are secondary. However, in this course we will also focus on the tools and their applications in marketing, but the emphasis is on understanding what tools are appropriate and when, which in turn implies that you know what the organizational goals and objectives are.

Chapter 3 is a good discussion of tapping into the conversation that is occurring out there in the social media arena. This implies awareness of the conversation and the ability to first listen, listen, and listen objectively to that conversation. Again, this is a sensitive issue to most people. Why? What happens if you hear negative things about your firm, or perhaps about you personally?

You probably at this point noticed that this book, Secrets of Social Media Marketing, emphasizes blogs and blogging more than other social media venues. In chapter 4, the author talks about influence rs, a topic that Rosen discusses in detail in The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited.  The chapter offers some good information that you should keep in mind in preparing your module project--how the companies that you analyzed to complete the project identified and managed their influence rs.

Hope to hear from you in the near future and do post your thoughts and observations on the readings, your experiences, and any other insights that you think would be of interest to the class.