It’s getting pretty hard for brand managers to ignore the effect social media has had on their marketing and advertising budgets. Internet media buys via paid search, private placement of ads or through the corporate activity stream and social media landing pages have taken center stage in the B2C firm’s marketing department. Over the last 18 months we’ve used many of these same outlets to communicate with our customer base; we’re an IT firm selling B2B and delivering SharePoint, CRM and Business Intelligence services to our Mid-Atlantic customer base. 

Another trend we’ve witnessed in our customer base is the deemphasis of SEO and search word buys in favor of social media and social search advertisement placement. On Facebook, for instance, you can dial in the demographic a little more granularly targeting ad buys to fans, would-be fans an the general public, tuning and measuring the message as you go. 

The potential for a positive feedback loop is enormous. Messages delivered to the customer base can be monitored for activity, commentary, likes and shares. Social CRM tools have emerged that are tuned into social networks and provide a multichannel monitoring device which enables the savvy marketing firm to identify key customers and product evangelists. 

Not suprisingly, our clients are iniating fewer direct email campaigns, instead favoring  messages placed into the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn social streams. Permission based marketing has morphed from push to pull with an emphasis moving towards the acquisition of social identities and not email identities. 

Unfortunately the tools used to manage this new form of brand and identity management often focus on one or two social media techniqes and have few abilities to integrate. There are however a number of best of breed products and techniques that focus on social media marketing’s key mechanisms: the Activity Stream, Ad Placement, Events & Calandering, CRM and Analytics. 

We’ll cover these in subsequent posts so stay tuned, and as always, your feedback is appreciated.