SES: Clicking With Social Media Users Is Key For Marketers

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SAN JOSE, CA -- Panelists at the Search Engine Strategies Show in San Jose, CA, said users of MySpace, YouTube, Friendster and Flickr are an audience that is very often averse to commercial messaging but the best way to influence them is to get into their cliques.

Search marketing executives at the "Leveraging Social Media" session talked about ways to market to users of social media without "dissing" or alienating them.

"To be accepted means to be built into that culture," said Gary Stein, director of strategy for Ammo Marketing, San Francisco.

Mr. Stein said it is useful to get through to even one individual in a clique, as information within these groups is spread by word of mouth.

"It is more important to spread your message deep rather than wide," he said. "Tightly define your group for a more targeted marketing effort."

There is a lot of work involved for success in social media, according to another panelist.

"Engagement and authenticity is key for a targeted audience reach," said Scott Meyer, president/CEO of About.com.

He said it is important to build trust with online consumers.

Mr. Meyer recommended using social sites like MySpace to track the content of blogs and decide on the interests and needs of bloggers. Interacting with these bloggers by participating in their postings is a great way to build trust and getting to know these potential customers.

After that, deciding on what to market to these individuals should be a synch.

Hans Peter Brondmo, CEO and founder of social search site Plum, also participated on the panel. Plum is an online scrapbook where users create a page where they can save and share all aspects of their digital life.

Mr. Brondmo said the new site is a chance for marketers to get targeted leads based on what users collect, revealing their interests and needs.

We are submerged in "an alternate media universe," said Brian Monahan, vice president of group communications at Universal McCann, New York.

"The amount of content being generated is huge and word of mouth influences people's purchases the most," he said.

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