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Is social media marketing growing up?

I’ve spent years listening to clients who want me to help them with social media. And, across brand after brand, time after time, Id try to ask them about what their marketing strategy was, so I could tell them how social can fit in. I finally gave up asking that, because I found that what they really wanted was (pick one) a Facebook fan page/Twitter handle/blog/something even dumber. It’s not to say that every client was clueless about marketing strategy. Many in fact, especially the larger ones, could indeed answer the question. But then they circled right back to asking me if we could put up a Facebook fan page. But, recently, I’ve seen a growing change.

Social media marketing just might be growing up.

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Three separate clients this week started a discussion on social media strategy with their outcomes. “We want to increase registrations on our paid content” or “We want an increase in buyers for this product” or something equally strategic. (My heart nearly fluttered as each one spoke.)

This has been coming for a while, but I am now seeing a strong change in conversation about social media marketing. It doesn’t make  sense to try to increase your Facebook fans if you aren’t going to do anything for them–and if you can’t find any way for your fans to spend more with you.

It’s not always easy, and Lord knows there are numerous brands where social media isn’t measurable in any stronger way than TV advertising–can you show that surveyed brand awareness went up? If you’re Coca-Cola or Skittles or any number of brands that have smart social media presence to raise brand awareness, that’s fine.

But most companies can make a more direct tie to revenue–online or offline–and they haven’t been doing it. Until now. More and more, I am seeing the same approaches e-Commerce companies have used for years starting to show up in many other places–even B2B companies that once were fairly unsophisticated about almost any kind of marketing.

Direct marketers rejoice! Now it is time to be more social.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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