Users have the real power to make or break a brand’s campaign, simply by ignoring it.

One of the first questions you need to ask is: "Who do you want to reach through your campaign and what's in it for them?"

A marketing manager recently asked this question: "What will be a good social media marketing strategy for a Social media website?"

One of the mistakes that many marketing managers make is creating profile pages or social media applications that do not engage with the community and offer no incentive for users to participate.

First and foremost, social media sites are about community, and while advertisers are jumping around waving their arms waiting to be noticed, it never occurs to them that the first way to get into a group is to get to know people, then ask permission.

Advertisers need to remember that the true power of social media lies in the user-to-user activity.

People will pass on links and applications to people within their group that share their interest.

So, understanding who actually gives a damn about what you have to say or sell is key to any campaign. Ignore personalisation at your peril.

Finally, advertiser must be prepared not only to push out a campaign and hope that the users will drive its success; advertisers must be willing and ready to participate.

Engagement with the community will send the message that not only has the advertiser taken the trouble to get to know the user’s interests, it wants to stick around, thereby establishing trust.

An undervalued element in social media is trust.

Many brands try to coax users away from their community and push them toward external brand sites, and measure the success of a campaign on whether or not users leave the community and push up the traffic numbers on corporate sites.

A bolder tactic is to stay within the community and engage where users feel more comfortable, thus establishing trust.

As highlighted by Forrester Research recently, this is a tactic employed by Intel with great success.

Marketing manager David Veneski made the gutsy move of not linking back to the Intel corporate site through his social marketing efforts, in an attempt to actively join a community and get them to engage with the brand on their own turf.  

So, what is a good social media marketing strategy?

It’s remembering that people are only consumers when they’re consuming, that true communication is a two way street and that social media as the name implies is first and foremost about individuals using technology to communicate with other groups of individuals who share a common interest.

If we want in on the party, we need an invitation first and we’re only going to get one if we stop treating people like figures in a segment.

Demographics in this arena are meaningless and only when we get that will people open the door.

Grant Whiteside

Published 6 November, 2008 by Grant Whiteside

3 more posts from this author

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Comments (4)



I think a lot of the problem is with companies often having more money in their marketing budget than they have time. Social media marketing does require time and effort to be accepted within that community and many companies either don't have the time or are too impatient for results. It's an outlook stuck in the mass marketing of the past.

almost 10 years ago



Adi I do agree with you in part. However, I think your first point is wrong. I think the big problem is some clients know that producing pages on FB, MySpace etc is free and therefore it should be a cheap option for them. What doesn't help is some agencies saying they are doing social media, when in fact all they are doing is placing ads on a social network. Social media is a touchpoint for digital which needs its own individual strategy based on multiple factors some of which are highlighted by Eliza. There is no one size fits all, that is for certain, and whether its short or long lead times, thats the most important thing for clients to understand.

almost 10 years ago


Ambergreen Staff, ambergreen staff at ambergreen Internet Marketing

I agree, Adi. I guess from my point of view, if companies really want to have their say and participate in this environment, they have to take the time to do it right. Otherwise, people will naturally tune them out or worse, slag them off in a place where people are certain to listen, their own cluster of mates.

-Eliza D

almost 10 years ago

Grant Whiteside

Grant Whiteside, Technical Director at Ambergreen Internet Marketing

Hi All,

Thanks for the various comments on the article. I would like to thank mobile guru Jonathan MacDonald who coined the phrase "people are only consumers when they’re consuming", is an advocate of engagement through permission and gave a brilliant presenation at the NetImperative Roadshow in October.

almost 10 years ago

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