Hello again followers/readers of kaileyck! Hope you all had a lovely holiday and new year.

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I’m back for my final semester and am happy to announce I’ll be keeping this site updated with weekly blog posts documenting my adventures as I traverse through the exciting world of my independent study!

As I mentioned in my ds106 introduction post several months back, I’m a communication major. Particularly, I’m fascinated by the study and world of social media marketing and its cutting-edge nature. Therefore, I drafted up a pretty darn cool syllabus for a course in which I would analyze two fairly well known social media campaigns and analyze them according to a bit of communication theory (narrative fidelity, “The Good Eye” visual rhetoric theory, history of the public square/meeting versus public screen, enthymeme, etc.), word of mouth, and press coverage, and then, I’ll go through each of the aforementioned categories and talk about the campaigns’ strengths and weaknesses.

To prepare me for a deeper look into social media theory/marketing (doesn’t social media seem too new to be having “theory” books written about it?!), I’ve chosen some excellent texts to read.


 

For these first 2-3 weeks, I’ll be reading Mark W. Schaefer’s  Social Media Explained.

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To begin, even though this isn’t a book review, I’d be amiss not to mention the light, humorous style with which the author writes. Schaefer is a very successful businessman who has also written well known books such The Tao of Twitter. Despite his impressive credentials, he makes this book very accessible. Everyone from CEOs to students like myself can learn something from its pages.

The first chapter starts by discussing a bit of what I mentioned earlier: the history of social interaction and the need for a public meeting space. Village markets in the Medieval Ages, Schaefer argues, fulfilled a primal, human need. Humankind requires interaction for brain stimulation and social growth. We want to chat, gossip, barter, etc. Marketplaces and face-to-face interaction allowed people to do these things and allowed for immediacy in product feedback and word-of-mouth recommendation.

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Then, the second communication revolution after oral and writing communication came along: the printing press. Information could now be printed for the masses, and this invention “ushered in an era of advertising…[the] first step away from the person-to-person interactions that were the very foundation for selling and buying for centuries” (Schaefer 100).

From here, the space between the buyers and sellers only grew as the decades brought along television and radio.

Schaefer argues that social media is a type of “back to the future” movement (133).

“Look, Marty! People are TALKING to each other like HUMAN BEINGS!” (Wikipedia)

1) Immediacy is back. Customers and consumers can let your company and the Internet audience know in a matter of milliseconds if they love or hate something about their recent shopping experience.

2) Internet is accessible to almost anyone in this day and age, so word-of-mouth–or, rather, word-of-blog-posts-and-tweets–is super important. A company needs to keep a close eye on their digital identity–or, their presence on the Web.

3) Internet/computer/gaming addiction aside, Schaefer argues that no one “MUST” spend time on the social web. People just enjoy doing so because it allows them to connect with not only family members and friends but people from around the globe. The primal need for intimacy is again fulfilled.

Now, some marketers look at this re-vamped closeness in a negative light, claiming that marketers and businesses are like hunters while the audience is a group of deer. Thus, allowing the audience/deer to access social media is like giving “the deer guns” to fight back against the hunters.

Schaefer assures people not to worry, however, and that social media represents a move back to “marketplace roots” and “personal connection” (133-4).

From here, the author lays out ways that marketers can take advantage of this “personal connection.” His number one rule is: a brand is not a brand but a buddy.

Brand loyalty is developed after years of frequenting a company. There is a history of “small interactions” (199) that cause a company to be more important to a consumer than another company. If said company suddenly loses its special attention to detail (ex. sending tweets or e-mails to check up on a person after a purchase to see how the product is working or offering tips for its use or other similar products), then the consumer feels as though they have lost a friendship. Don’t make that mistake of losing a customer’s friendship.

Next, Shaefer encourages company’s to not only post or promote material for only their brand. Spend some time at other companies’ “houses” or enhance friendships by commenting, liking, re-tweeting, etc., other brands’ material on other brands’ pages (232). Shaefer says that it’s common to measure success in social media based off of a company’s own metrics, but success measurement should be changed to ALSO include efforts to interact with other companies.

Shaefer’s last couple of chapters in Section One discuss his formula for success in what he calls “the most human of channels” (276). He discourages taking aspects of old advertising habits (ex. taking print media and just re-writing it on a website or using blatant, marketing language on social media accounts) and imprinting them on the new wave of social media platforms.

Instead, he suggests the following:

1) Targeted connections: Reaching as many people as possible is important. People expect instant results with social media marketing, but marketers must be realistic. A message’s power is measured by its audience reach, so allow for TIME. TIME will result in a slowly but steadily built-up audience as one continues to produce valuable content.

2) Meaningful content: Again, don’t post tons of so-called fluff posts. Take time to write out blog posts, suggestions, lists, etc. People will recognize and appreciate the quality of your work.

3) Authentic helpfulness: Probably the most intriguing aspect of Schaefer’s formula is the helpfulness concept that stems from his Tao of Twitter book. Try to look at social media not as marketing but as HELPING. Adopt an altruistic mindset, and watch people come to your material just for its rich information.

Examples of content to create include:

– White papers

– Case studies

– eBooks

– Newsletters

– Videos

– Recipes

– Stories

– Infographics

– Instructions

…and much more. Schaefer says he goes into more detail on how to figure out which material is best for certain businesses in later sections.

4) Giving it all away: This is a scary concept for businesses based on profit, but Schaefer insists businesses must “help, help, help” rather than “sell, sell, sell,” and this will allow for relationships built on “trust,” which are essential to further, successful business endeavors (404).


Sources:

 

Schaefer, Mark W. Social Media Explained: Untangling the World’s Most Misunderstood Business Trend. Schaefer Marketing Solutions: 2014. Kindle file.


I quite enjoyed Section One! The whole concept of “giving it all away” and “authentic helpfulness” were ones I hadn’t seen applied to the typically selfish, profit-driven world of marketing before reading this book, and I’m happy I was exposed to them!

See you all next week for Section Two! Comment with your own opinions or questions!

 

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