Nearly all consumers (97%) now use online media when researching products or services, according to BIA/Kelsey’s ongoing consumer tracking study. The misconception is that only young people use these technologies for shopping but in fact, nearly all of the buying public now use them.
Marketing has shifted from a one-way broadcast to a multi-point conversation. In the past, communications were “broadcast” exclusively through mass marketing channels like radio, TV, newspapers and even the door-to-door distribution of directories like the Yellow Pages.
The Internet itself has moved in this direction in recent years with the advent of social media. Companies marketed online by building Web sites and sending emails to subscribers—both “broadcast” activities in the sense that communication was one-way. Banner ads, news items, emails and other tactics drive prospects to Web sites where companies communicate their messages and influence behavior. With social media, however, much of the communication is controlled by the prospects. Members can ask their community about a product, service or company and get multiple opinions, recommendations or referrals. Conversely, members freely discuss their experiences with their friends and followers. Online, the new “word-of-mouth” is social media like Facebook, Linkedin, Google+,and Twitter.
Social Video Channels
YouTube is now the second largest search engine, according to comScore, with 50% more searches than Yahoo! And 180% more searches than Bing. YouTube has 1 billion visitors every month who watch more than 4 billion hours of video every month.
As a social medium, YouTube features user generated content and facilitates video sharing, commenting, rating and the ability to create special interest channels that attract friends and subscribers who share interests and can interact with each other. Users look for videos to entertain and inform. Businesses participate by providing answers to users’ questions, how-to content, product reviews, instruction, expert opinions, etc. It is a forum for establishing “social authority” that businesses seek for the topical areas most related to their services or products. According to Dr. Pamela Rutledge, Director of the Media Psychology Research Center, “One of the tenets of social media is that you can’t control your message, you can only participate in the conversation.” By building social authority in a subject area, a business can participate in the “conversation” and become a relevant influence in that conversation.
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Like & Comment
YouTube provides a system for viewers to “Like” and comment on the videos, which lends weight to the social authority of the experts who create and offer the videos.
Most recent “Channel Comments” are shown toward the bottom of the image. These comments appear much like they do in blogs. Their purpose is to engage viewers (prospects and customers) in the conversation and build familiarity and trust between them and the business.
YouTube’s “Share” functionality allows viewers to share the video link through their other social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, or post it to their own blogs via Blogger, Google’s blogging platform. (Google also owns YouTube.)
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