The founders of a major public broadcasting network were recently asked to explain the success of their programming. Their response was that because they were operating in a non-commercial environment, they were free to experiment and be creative without the risk of commercial failure. The same opportunity exists for any application of marketing principles to the world of social media: Marketing = experimentation.
Using old marketing tactics in this new media can fail without clarity on the reasons for their failure. It is much more likely to find new approaches to communication that are meaningful in a contextual and appropriate way.
Just as testing has always been a critical part of developing marketing strategies, experimentation will be the lifeblood of successful results when expanded to reflect the new opportunities and venues created by the proliferation of social media.
Businesses need to take initial proactive approaches to social media, using it for branding the way they use sponsorships. They cannot let fear or embarrassment over mistaken initial steps stop them from attempting other approaches.
It is a mistake to presume that businesses need to have a resident expert to enter the fray, just as it is a mistake to presume that they need a young intern to handle this newest of media. The principles of trial and error, moderated by a good marketing instinct are the critical skill sets for success.
In fact, companies can be active in social media without writing a blog, tweeting - or even using a computer. The challenge is to effectively get others to blog or tweet about you. Developing the right strategic relationships can go further than the largest marketing budget in extending a company’s reach into social media. In essence, by definition social media requires creating a campaign that is viral in nature.