Week 6: Social Media Trends

Each week a question is asked to the students of Digital Media in Practice – A course in the Ryerson MBA program.  The question relates to assigned readings and focuses on different aspects of digital media.

Readings this week included Consumer behavior in online game communities: A motivational factor perspectiveE-Tribalized Marketing?: The Strategic Implications of Virtual Communities of Consumption, and a TED video – Evan Williams on listening to Twitter users.

How can we design our social media marketing plans to ensure the engagement of our target audience?

Listen, be honest, and find influential people.

When designing a social media marketing plan, the starting point should be listening to the target audience.  Find where your audience is interacting, what kinds of conversations they are engaging in, and who is influencing the community.  In E-Tribalized Marketing the point is made that one influential person can change the minds of many others online.  Understanding who these influential people (or blogs) are is crucial to the success of a social media marketing plan.

In a previous project of mine, the goal was to engage prospective students and convert them into applicants of a specific college.  Opinions and experiences of current college students are typically very influential to prospective students, so it was crucial to interact with current students for this project.  This also addresses the importance of honesty and transparency.  The main reason why current students are so influential to prospective students is because they are a neutral third party.  They are not selling a product and will not see any gain if they convert a prospective student into an applicant and are willing to share their honest opinions and experiences.

What tips can we gain from the readings to help us understand how to engage people from both a social and an entertainment perspective?

From the readings we learn that there are to main factors (relationship with the product and social relationship with the network) that impacts how people interact online.  E-Tribalizing identifies four types – tourists who are not deeply tied into the network and only have a passing interest in the brand, minglers who have strong social ties by are not overly invested in the brand, devotees who are deeply invested in the brand but less so in the social attachments, and finally insiders who have strong social ties to the group as well as strong interest in the brand.

The readings also highlight the impact that people can have on brands.  Individuals now have an incredible influence on a brand that did not happen before large social networks.

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