How social can you be to influence someone?

So while I was on Twitter early this morning, I came across this post where Shiv Singh had written an article/paper on why people and companies should “Think Social Influence Marketing in 2008” and after reviewing it, it definitely makes a lot of sense…and when you read it yourself, you’ll probably think that it’s common sense, but it’s nice to see someone take all these basic concepts that are floating out there in the matrix and putting it to pen and paper.

Here’s my review of it…it’s a good one. It applies a lot of common sense and explores the way social media can influence marketing strategies in 2008. These concepts have been in existence since the Internet started and began simply with the development of the website. But I’m sure companies know that they just can’t be complacent with their Internet strategy by saying to their marketing & tech teams that they want to have a good website and that’s it. No, the effect the Internet can have on your consumers to purchase your product has to extend beyond the traditional Internet marketing spectrum. Stretch beyond website development, e-mail marketing, and online advertising (SEO, SEM, PPC, etc.) and research your products potential in the social marketing field.

nstead of companies spending hundred of thousands of dollars on traditional media like TV, radio, magazine, newspaper, and other offline advertising, the focus has been on more contemporary media like the Internet and mobile marketing. However, one element that would probably have been associated with the Internet is social media. But with the Internet being a constant evolutionary media, social media has branched out to become a new “dimension” for marketers. Think about it this way…

You have people in agencies and companies focusing on how to reach a target audience on TV, which publication has a great circulation when it comes to newspaper and other print media, what’s the number of impressions and click-throughs you can get with online advertising, look online for the amount of traffic your site gets, and how many people have opened and clicked on your e-mails you send out. Why shouldn’t you have someone dedicated to trying to reach out to your audience where they spend most of their time – on social media sites?

I’m not talking about Myspace, Friendster, or Facebook, but rather a myriad of all the other social sites that people congregate to talk story about what they find appealing. For example, TripAdvisor is a social site for folks who want to talk about their travel experiences, rate hotels, or complain about things they hated about their trip and offer advice. Dopplr is another site that allows people to share their travel experience. Seesmic is a video social network site in its infancy that allows people to post Twitter-ish type messages that people can form conversations on.

But are we limited to only places where they congregate and offer advice? No, there are other online sites that are becoming ever-social. Depending on your interest, there is a lot of potential for marketers. Are you aware that communities are becoming more relevant? The Shiv Singh article talks about it this way:

Companies are going to discover that social networks are just another incarnation of online communities. They’re going to spend money trying to understand adoption, user behavior, trust, and information flows in these communities. And as companies attempt to influence behavior on these networks, they are going to think hard about their own tone and how they should be participating.

Social media is definitely an influencer and has the potential to be a really strong motivator for causing users to spread your message like wildfires. Be sure to read the article and try and adapt it to your marketing strategy. Happy social marketing!