What is Social Media

Click here to read it in German.

The best and shortest definition is “user generated content”.

Social Media and Web2.0 are marketing terms describing the internet’s development towards dynamic content,
social networking, reprocessing of content, intuitive usage and integration of the newest technological developments.

Web1.0 described the static websites of big content deliverers, as opposed to the dynamic websites of Web2.0, which invite their users to create, to contribute and to engage in social exchange. The most well known examples are Twitter, Facebook,and mySpace.

But the significance of Web2.0 for marketing goes way beyond these examples.
Web2.0 communication platforms have handed enormous power to consumers. While consumers have always exchanged opinions and experiences on products, brands and companies, in web2.0 they do it

  • in writing
  • stored digitally for an indefinitely long time span
  • easy to find for any other consumer who cares
  • reusable
  • and forwardable.

For most brands and products it is not so much Twitter, Facebook and mySpace that matter, but the myriads of unspectacular platforms that are being frequented by their target groups.
These platforms are not on the marketers radar and in many cases, the relevance for communication about specific procucts is not easy to recognize.
The birth of an unwanted web2.0 presence is symptomatic:

a consumer is posting some product related questions online
other consumers feel happy to give answers
an online thread forms
which finally appears in search engine results
this brings other interested consumers into the discussion
which attracts new readers and thread postings
the discussion is being linked to, is more and more easy to find and its significance multiplies.

Most companies and marketers are having a hard time to look up the online communication about their brands and products and therefore miss this very relevant marketing intelligence, which is used by their target groups.

Many analysis of web2.0 communication argue about the limited reach of specific web2.0 platforms, allthough retrievability of online consumer communication has nothing to do with reach measures of above the line media.
Consumers do not care about significance of page impressions but they care about relevance of content for their individual needs.
Instead of common reach measures for a website, the search engine results (and their reach) are what matters, since only these presences create the qualitative contacts with the target group.</span>

Digital communication takes place, like it or not.
Fact is, relevant information about your product and your brand is being exchanged and has enormous viral potential.
See it as a threat, forced upon your marketing or better see it as a terrific chance!

Social media are magnificient sources for qualitative market research.
Participating in web2.0 communication is tapping into vast potential for the entire marketing mix of your company.


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