Skip to content

The Tactical Marketing Utility Of Social Networking Sites

The more I use social networking sites like , , , and even and , the more impressed I become with their usefulness as tactical Internet marketing tools.

The ease with which you can find like-minded people with these sites is pretty breathtaking. The ability to precisely define a demographic target audience is particularly fine tuned with MySpace and Facebook’s advanced search functions.

Understand The Community

These sites, of course, are particularly sensitive to their users getting spammed, as they should be. The thing is, the users of these sites are not averse to receiving commercial messages, they just need to get them on their terms. They are happy to be brand fanboys and promote their favorite brands on their pages and friends lists; you just need to give them a valid reason to do so.

That’s why it is essential to become an active member of these communities. It is imperative that you understand the culture of a given social networking site. You do that by joining the conversation, listening to the community, and exploring how the community works. Add value to the community by being helpful or providing valuable information or content and in that way build up trust among the community members.

I’ve also seen many cases where the users of these sites have created their own communities around a brand without the company even being aware of it or before the company has established a presence in the social networking site.

Social Networking As A Media Relations Tool

I’m seeing more and more journalists, bloggers, and other online content creators using Facebook and LinkedIn as a tool for cultivating sources and maintaining relationships with them. This aspect of social networking is clearly mutually beneficial. It makes it very easy to communicate with journalists and bloggers on their terms.

Social Networking As A Business Development Tool

Of all the social networking sites, I am most impressed with LinkedIn, by far. Based on the notion of , LinkedIn examines the details of your contacts and makes suggestions of people LinkedIn thinks you should know.

Nine times out of ten, those recommendations are exactly right. The people LinkedIn recommends may not always be people I know, but more often than not they are people I know of. And if I don’t know who the recommendations are, they are at least in the right industry or there is some clear rationale behind the recommendation.

You never get those bizarre, from-left-field suggestions you sometimes get at Amazon.com. Like, why in the world would you think I wanted a book knitting for beginners?!?

LinkedIn’s search function is just as impressive as Facebook and MySpace, except with LinkedIn, you’re getting a list of people who are often among the most influential people within their organization. If that person sees that you know some of the same people, they are going to be more likely to trust you than they would otherwise.

As with Facebook, I’m seeing a lot of media people on LinkedIn. A search for "New York Times" returns 50 pages worth of results.

Similar Posts:

About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.

5 Comments

  1. Hssiegel on February 17, 2008 at 1:12 00 am CST

    It’s amazing what social marketing can do with all of the traffic frequenting these sites.

    One site you didn’t mention is stumbleupon. I was reading someones blog this week (cant’ remember whose)and they mentioned that they get more traffic from stumbleupon than anywhere else.

    A blog I frequent often, that of James Brausch I think is what led me to the post about stumbleupon.

    Brausch is a stickler about testing and I beleive he is running his own test on stumbleupon.

    It will be interesting to see his results.



  2. Hssiegel on February 16, 2008 at 6:12 40 pm CST

    It’s amazing what social marketing can do with all of the traffic frequenting these sites.

    One site you didn’t mention is stumbleupon. I was reading someones blog this week (cant’ remember whose)and they mentioned that they get more traffic from stumbleupon than anywhere else.

    A blog I frequent often, that of James Brausch I think is what led me to the post about stumbleupon.

    Brausch is a stickler about testing and I beleive he is running his own test on stumbleupon.

    It will be interesting to see his results.



  3. David Erickson on February 26, 2008 at 4:21 00 pm CST

    Thanks for pointing out StumbleUpon. I love StumbleUpon! If you add quality content, it often delivers more and better traffic to the page or site you submitted.



  4. David Erickson on February 26, 2008 at 9:21 09 am CST

    Thanks for pointing out StumbleUpon. I love StumbleUpon! If you add quality content, it often delivers more and better traffic to the page or site you submitted.



  5. FLICKR: Unintended Consequences « Cliffmichaels’s Blog on January 11, 2009 at 2:00 37 pm CST

    […] Here’s a blog post I found in just a few minutes of Googling demonstrating my point… And  another… One more… […]



Scroll To Top