After reading Dr. Mathew McDougall’s articles discussing social media marketing measurement and control (How Do You Measure Social Media Marketing? – Metrics and Analysis and Social Media Marketing – Where’s the Control Gone? ), I was inspired to contribute some of my thoughts about SMM (social media marketing).

Within my company, I sit facing the sales team and this gives me a great window into watch how the sales team position and sell our social media marketing services. Over the past few weeks I have begun to observe one of our sales people often get the same questions from sales prospects; advertisers wanting to simply maximize their sales by spending less time and money on marketing.

This is understandable given the current economic environment and I guess not a new problem facing sales but on the positive side it is pleasing to have SMM being recognized as a marketing channel (even though it appears little understood). From my observations (and eve’s dropping on the calls) many advertisers still interpret SMM as merely a new place to set up billboards cheaply, pushing the brand’s information to customers, and selling more products as soon as possible. If this is exactly what advertisers think, no wonder they are only willing to have a trial on SMM with an “economical” budget, and inevitably this “test campaign” may disappoint them in the outcomes.

Given I work in the SMM team, I want to shout from the roof that advertisers consider SMM as a long-term investment for their brands, to involve SMM as part of the brand’s whole marketing strategy. Indeed, the recession makes everyone more conservative, but this could also be a good opportunity for “power accumulation”. Generally speaking, SMM still remains an economic option for as a digital channel. It does not cost too much to commence a campaign and advertisers/brands should consider this more an opportunity to engage their consumers. If it’s difficult for advertisers to take high-cost promotion plans in such a tough time, it could be easier for them to accept to show concerns and accumulate influence from now on. SMM may not push huge amount of orders within days, but it is helpful in building friendly and healthy images for the brand, making it easier for customers to choose certain brands the moment they are making purchasing decision.

I would like to compare social media marketing to cultivating seedling, which calls for time and continuous care. It is never too late to start, and typically brings you more than what you expect.

Comments and further discussion are welcome. Feel free to twitter me: @farewellcup.

Linda Ying from SinoTech Group