One of the main complaints I hear when talking to companies about social marketing is lack of control. They don't feel that their content distribution is systematic, they don't understand their audience and influencers, and they don't feel they are agile enough to deal with functional changes. Luckily, Ric Dragon presents a process approach to social media marketing in his new book Social Marketology: Improve Your Social Media Processes and Get Customers to Stay Forever. Ric is the CEO of DragonSearch, a regular speaker for Google at their Get Your Business Online seminars, a regular columnist for Marketing Land and Social Media Monthly. In anticipation of our Social Marketology webinar next week, we sat down with Ric for some Q and A.
What can readers expect to learn from reading Social Marketology?
There are two major aspects of the book: The first and most fundamental is that Social Marketology provides a framework for social media marketing. We can all get caught up in the constant and rapid changes taking place in the tools and platforms. By having these main building blocks in place, you'll be able to adjust to whatever changes come along.
Secondly, the book provides a glimpse into the myriad areas of knowledge that come into play with social media. The discipline is touched on by ethnography, psychology, neuro-science, game theory, business history, and more. The book touches on these things enough to guide the reader to deeper reading if they choose.
In Social Marketology you write "In some types of organizations, and at a certain scale, it makes sense for an entire organization to be social." By that you mean social being used for product development, customer service, and sales messaging. What organizational types and scale were you referring to?
I once asked Ford's head of social media, Scott Monty, how much of Ford was social-enabled, and he proudly stated something to the effect of about 24 percent. He added that it just wasn't practical for line workers. So, in manufacturing, it isn't difficult to imagine the hurdles you'd have to jump to have people who operate machinery, for instance, to be tweeting. In knowledge work where people are already working on a computer throughout the day, it might not be so difficult.
Large organizations, of course, have their own challenges - but there is often bandwidth in each employee's day for social communications. In smaller companies, resources are often stretched so thin that for everyone to engage in social may not be practical.
Claiming real estate on social platforms is one of the basic activities you cite for social marketing. How do you know which to claim and should you claim them before you are ready to fully utilize them?
There really isn't much risk in creating a social profile, and then not using it. There is an enormous risk, however, if a platform takes off in popularity, and you don't own your own brand name. For that reason, I advocate for the creation of profiles on as many social platforms as possible. At the very least, you usually have the opportunity to brand the profile, and to create a link back to your own site, which is minimally helpful for search engine optimization.
One of the main premises of the book is that social media behaviors follow patterns. What dictates these patterns? Do these patterns change?
The patterns in social media platforms have emerged through the rapid growth of the web. It's possible that elements of these patterns are hard-wired into our brains, or reflect how we already operate in the physical world. On the other hand, we see new patterns, like those demonstrated in Pinterest, arise quickly. People are even making websites that mimic the image board interface of Pinterest! So, I have no doubt that new patterns will emerge, and through a type of Darwinistic winnowing, many will pass by while others will dominate.
You are the cofounder of the firm DragonSearch, which manages SEO, SEM, and social marketing for clients. What do you see for the future of the relationship between search and social?
We're already finding that the distinction between the two becoming fuzzier and fuzzier. A major component of our work in search marketing lies in the research we do to better understand how people think and how they use language to filter out the overwhelming pool of information available. We deal in the realm of "what's relevant."
In social, we're dealing with the context of how this information is shared. These two things, relevance and context become our domain in which we work. Social boosts search with links, and search helps us understand how our communities think.
This is exciting to think about: in digital marketing, our job is to help organizations have a deeper context and greater relevance with their markets. Marketing is often relegated to being a component of sales - but if we assume the digital marketing approach; we become a part of a larger business purpose.