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Exclusive Interview With Dave Evans, Author Of “Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation Of Business Engagement”

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Published: November 30, 2010

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dave Evans, author of Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation Of Business Engagement and Marketing yesterday. I spoke with Evans about Social Media and how it can improve any brand or business. If you want to know how to engage and generate targeted traffic for your brand, I encourage you to explore Evans’ excellent insight into Social Media Marketing.

How would you define Social Media to a small business or brand interested in online marketing?

Social Media simply is the collective conversation that impacts your brand, product or service. It includes blogs, videos, photos, wall posts — created by customers, partners, suppliers, by you or your employees, and by anyone else who cares to comment or offer a public (digital) viewpoint that would be of interest to you or your customers if you knew about it.

What are some pitfalls business risk when using social media?

Obviously, there is a lack of control over at least part of the conversations that occur: you can of course control your own voice on the social web — though at least some evidently choose, at their own peril, not to — but you cannot control the voices of others. For products and services that fail to “walk the talk” in the eyes of customers, the social web can be tricky. For those who try and fake it, the social web can be deadly. As well for businesses using social channels without a strategy, without employee use policies — without a firm, articulated linkage between social media efforts an business objectives — the social web can likewise be a challenging place.

Should social media be the only marketing tactic a business uses?

Absolutely NOT. Social media is rarely a stand-alone marketing tool; instead, it is somewhere between an anchor and a complementary effort, depending on the overall marketing strategy of the business.

How might social media marketing help a small business or brand?

First, the social web is open to anyone. Small businesses can often build a presence on the social web that they may not be able to afford through traditional media. Second, because social media works in ways similar to conventional word-of-mouth, purveyors of best-of-class products and services, whether B2B or end-consumer facing, can enjoy a nice amplification of marketing. Beyond marketing, social media can be especially helpful for businesses looking to innovate. By connecting directly with customers — for example, through a support forum — small businesses can shorten innovation cycles and develop superior products or services faster.

What inspired you to write about social media?

As a Product Manager, I have always been interested in the ways in consumers learn about products and services and in the ways they make subsequent purchase decisions. The social web — ratings, reviews, videos, support forums, etc. — is clearly an important advancement applicable to Product Managers in both the marketing and the design and development aspects of running a P&L sheet.

What can social media do to help a brand manage their reputation?

Wow, a lot! First, by monitoring and sensibly participating, brand reputations can be bolstered and even redefined through social media. Second, by connecting with customers, new ideas, potential improvements and sources of innovation can be tapped. Welcoming customers into a business can have an incredible impact on the brand and its perception in the market. Finally, by participating actively brand managers can spot (and address and correct) problems long before they become bigger issues.

Is there a way to measure the impact of a social media marketing campaign?

Yes, most definitely. Because social media leaves a digital footprint, nearly all aspects of social media marketing can be measured. The challenge is committing to carry out the measurements and to tie these measurements back to business results. Too many marketers (“one” is too many) choose not take this effort. That’s too bad, because when measured and aligned with business objectives, social media can be really powerful.

Your newest book “Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation Of Business Engagement” is packed to the brim with great information. What are some important topics you cover in the book?

The “Cliff’s Notes” high points are the redefinition of engagement — defined on the social web in terms of collaboration rather than exposure, and the impact of social technology (e.g. collaborative tools like Twitter) both inside and outside the organization, including the necessity of a cross-functional approach to the use of these tools. For example, if customers are frequently requesting the same product change, marketing can’t respond alone. Operations, legal (if a workplace policy or existing regulation is the issue), HR and other functions not typically thought of as “part of the purchase funnel” are all essential. Building a cross-functional team and approaching social technology holistically are the new operational realities of business and it is this point that are central to my newest book.

Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation of Business EngagementDigital EYE would like to thank Dave for taking the time to discuss social media marketing with us. If you would like to learn more about social media marketing, Dave will be speaking in Orange County on Thrusday, December 16th at 6:00pm. To secure your spot to this event, register for tickets at www.internetmarketingoc.com. Early bird tickets are $10 until December 9th. You can pick up a copy of Social Media Marketing: The Next Generation Of Business Engagement and Marketing on Amazon.com.

Connect with Dave on his Twitter and Facebook accounts!

  1. bbryon says:

    Great interview. I was fortunate enough to meet Dave earlier this year at a workshop in NYC. When he talks about how consumers learn about new products (or just products for that matter); I continue to revert back to the “Social Flywheel” & the “Cloud” around the purchasing funnel which completely helps folks visualize the social web and how consumers participate. Dave helped me improve my organization’s integration of social media marketing into our overall strategic vision. It helps that he’s super cool and personable as well.

  2. Tanner says:

    @bbryon that’s awesome! Dave is a great guy, he’s very knowledgeable and passionate about what he does. Social media is so dynamic and to be able to talk to Dave about SMM is great as I had my own questions about how to better utilize it to connect with our community. Glad you liked the interview 🙂