Saturday, June 13, 2009

Social media in business and marketing

You know, I've been wondering if my services wouldn't be appreciated more in the business sector? I think some permanence has been achieved at Otago Polytechnic in the appreciation and use of social media for education.. but now I reckon Otago businesses need a little leg up on the opportunities.

I'd be careful not to hype up the "markets are conversations" angle, because with more than 2/3rds of NZ still not connected to that conversation (probably a lot worse in Otago), that one isn't going to fly. But there is a significant opportunity for businesses involved in tourism, services, and international trade I reckon, as well as boutiques. Through using social media they would not only save on website creation and maintenance, but they'll improve the look and functionality, strengthen their online presence and findability, increase their market reach, and potentially improve their customer relations..

As far as I can tell by a Google search for "Otago social media marketing", it is me and a business called Usable who are in the position. Interesting to note that it is North American based services sitting above us, one of which is probably because I commented on a Slideshare - bringing to it the linkages to Otago. Goes to show how thin the coverage is here...

That Slideshare is a pretty good introductory reader on using social media to develop markets and business btw.. I've embedded it below. What I'm wondering is if I can develop a course or service for local Otago businesses along this vein? Is there, or will there be a demand for such knowledge and skills? Check out the 5th paragraph in the introduction where he describes the gains he made in his boutique tourism business:

  • Slashed my marketing budget by over 80%
  • Fired my publicist and her expensive monthly retainer
  • Increased subscriptions to my monthly news letter by 50%
  • Almost tripled my revenues
  • Increased my profits by 500%

Surely those claims would catch the attention of local Otago tourism businesses? But how might I go about getting their attention and selling my services to them I wonder? Especially when social media is not a big deal in the local scene... I'm angling to a local market, so I might have to employ local means to start off...

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Sarah Stewart said...

Looks like you and I have been thinking along the same lines except I am thinking about working with people in health-maybe we should go into business together

Chris Harvey said...

This makes me laugh a little.

Every second person on twitter etc is a social media marketing expert.

I think its silly how you say youre in a some position based on that google search.

@Sarah lol, in social media marketing we already are in business together?

Leigh Blackall said...

yeah, I must admit to feeling a little self concious about this, fully aware that every 2nd person seems to be moving towards in this direction, but that's no reason to stop.

Considering I've been commentating on social media in education since 2004, helping maybe 1000s of teachers to work it out, I don't think there's much difference working with business owners.

The local businesses around Otago appear to have no insights on the opportunities of social media, I think it is appropriate I play an educational role.

The thing is, we (you, sarah and I) have an international perspective on this, which is why it appears every man, woman and their dog is consulting on social media, but we too easily forget that it is still a majority of people DON'T engage with it

I used to think this slowness was something to do with the education sector, but I now realise its everywhere. More than 2/3rds of NZ is not connected to broadband for a start!

But in saying that I also worry about this new focus in everyone and me.. marketing!! Really? the devil's tongue coming to corrupt our social spaces. It will certainly have an impact on the authenticity and community spirit we've enojoyed over the past 5 years.

But these same concerns chatted away in me when I started showing education. The thing I realise is that ""social media" is so huge, its not that easy to corrupt it..

In short, why not. Laugh away Chris :)

Chris HArvey said...

I think its great that youre exploring these ideas.

Perhaps look around at what other people are doing, I noticed Otago university on twitter.

I hope you don't think I meant that I was laughing at you.

I can relate to what you said about marketing, these days sometimes I find myself doing very similar things to some of the marketers on different social platforms which concerns me. Its probably a good thing. I'm just trying to raise awareness of the things I care about.

Sorry about the short msgs, I rush them at work. lols

chris said...

Indeed Otago University are on Twitter - thanks Leigh I'm loving your work - wouldn't have engaged with Social Media had it not been for your assistance.

Amanda Crowe said...

Social media marketing is the process of promoting your site or business through social media channels and it is a powerful strategy that will get you links. Social Media Marketing Spend to Hit $3.1 Billion by 2014. I have a question, does social media marketing boost the bottom line?