At the moment the use of social media is like gold rush fever in the Wild West, with everyone trying to make a fast buck.

There are loads of cowboys and cowgirls heading to them there hills looking for gold, but, despite much effort, the only people really making money are those selling pickaxes and gold pans.

While it’s perhaps still a medium to initiate discussion, raise awareness, rate and review, rather than sell shed loads of product, social media is growing very fast and can be used to gather data for future marketing.

You’d think with the huge amount of coverage and conversation social
media is getting, that email would be on its way out. Well, fortunately
not, we’ve seen recent research that shows the total posts on Facebook
and Twitter combined add up to just 0.2% of all email traffic!
(and this
excludes spam). 

Email is in fact stronger than ever, with more and
more email being sent around the world every day.

As Parry Malm,
one of our Account Directors so eloquently put it: 

At the moment the
use of social media is like gold rush fever in the Wild West, with
everyone trying to make a fast buck. There are loads of cowboys and
cowgirls heading to them there hills looking for gold, but, despite much
effort, the only people really making money are those selling pickaxes
and gold pans.

So, what channel do people actually prefer for
communications of an e-commerce nature? According to a recent ForeSee report, email marketing was noted as the cause
of the visit many times more often than interaction on a social network.

In the UK, 62% of all respondents stated that they preferred to hear
about sales and promotions through email marketing campaigns, while only
2% said that they would rather find out about them via social
networking websites.

The social media age is undoubtedly upon us, but it
has barely made any impact on the ability of email marketing to drive
traffic to websites.

While it’s perhaps still a medium to initiate
discussion, raise awareness, rate and review, rather than sell product, social media is growing very fast and can be used to
gather data for future marketing.

Therefore its value is potentially
massive and cannot be ignored. It’s all about owning the data.

With social media being the focus of many e-commerce operations, we’re highlighting three key ways to exploit this channel:

Fallacy of activism

Take
the example of the London riots. Within days Twitter feeds and Facebook
groups were alive with talk about grand plans to clean-up the mess,
with thousands promising help.

However, when it came to the day, just a
couple of hundred people with brooms turned up. Just because people say
they will take action, doesn’t mean they will in real life. 

Consider what a
“like” or a “follow” actually means; it’s nothing more than a one-click
temporary show of affection.

Reality of ownerships

LinkedIn
has gone public, Facebook is expected to within one year, and Twitter
I’m sure will one day soon. The common theme here is that investors are
calling the shots, focusing the executive management on profits.

Now
while profit maximisation is broadly a good thing, it is their profits
being maximised, not yours! How would your business be affected if they charged users
£1 for every ‘friend’ or ‘like’?…It could happen!

Never forget one
fundamental thing: they own the data, not you, so really you are
building up the audience for them, not yourself. The key is to protect
yourself by bringing the data under your ownership and integrating the
data into your systems.

Importance of integration

No
matter how you interact with customers, or which communications
channels you use, it’s vital to ingest their data into your database.

For example, consider an iPad app. When someone downloads it, Apple
receives their data for possible future use, not you. However,
increasingly we’re seeing newsletter sign-ups designed into the app to
capture user details for the publisher’s own use.

So we’ve touched
on how to exploit the never-ending growth of social media and using best
practice to avoid fails. The key thing is to get a plan in place to
link your social media and email together, putting yourself in control
of your data to ensure you are maximising both channels.

Don’t be one of
the thousands of people sucked in by get-rich-quick pickaxe salesmen.