Making Friends with Social Media

Years ago, launching a new website meant a couple of banner ads, print campaigns and broadcast spots. It all seemed to work just fine, and then it happened: things changed.

These days all three of those tactics have been relegated to footnotes in a website launch campaign. It used to be so simple; paying for eyeballs meant that you got your favorite pen out and your checkbook and wrote a couple of figures. Let’s explore why that doesn’t work anymore.

The good news is that old website promotion tactics have been replaced with an arsenal of new web marketing weapons that can be far more effective.

The bad news is it can be difficult knowing where to start. Nowadays, getting the word out means researching social networks like MySpace and Facebook to identify target audiences, building buzz on social news sites like Digg, and making the most of Google’s Universal search results.

These online initiatives can reach a higher number of people than traditional advertising. The underlying assumption was (the operative word here being was) if you spent money, people would see your ad in the paper.

As an HR professional, I find that less and less traffic is generated from employment ads placed in print. People seeking employment or finding out “what’s available” aren’t looking in the paper. Why, just the other day, I typed a few simple keywords into Google and the SERP (search engine results page) displayed desirable job listings. To my surprise, one of the top three job listings was my very own job posting which has been placed on numerous job boards, message boards and various user groups’ social blogs.

Both on Facebook and MySpace more and more companies are posting jobs on these social networks. If you’ve looked at any statistics lately, you will know that the demographics of MySpace users have changed significantly; the 30 and older crowd now make up the member list majority! Consider that a social network like MySpace has the capability to reach over 100 million users instantly. Even halftime ads shown during the Superbowl don’t have that kind of reach!

If you think about it, social media has become the fabric of how we communicate online to share important messages, whether it’s about friendships, feelings or products. Marketing professionals will figure out a way to weave their messages into these discussions very much the same way television advertisers learned how to weave their messages or advertisements into popular shows. The stakes are high because so many people are paying attention.

There’s no time this holiday season to be anti-social!