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The benefits and drawbacks of Other People’s Marketing

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Alex
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The benefits and drawbacks of Other People’s Marketing

Post by Alex on Fri 29 Jun 2012, 9:18 am

By Jo Edwardes

With so many businesses these days utilizing what has been called Other People’s Marketing, or OPM, there are some important considerations to take into account, including making sure that it’s a relevant and manageable exercise and ensuring customers don’t lose you as the social networking environment changes by owning your own place online.

Ian Bowen-Morris, CMO at London-based Telnames, explains why you need to be asking the right questions when it comes to thinking about what your business really needs from online tools.

Facebook is today what AOL was in the 1990’s. Do you remember when ‘Search for AOL keyword XXXX’ was plastered all over posters and adverts on the television? As time moves on, the names of the networks and keywords have been swapped for Facebook and vanity URLs, but the same risks and benefits apply.

Using social networks is a practice today known as OPM – Other People’s Marketing. Effectively, you’re ‘piggybacking’ on the success of other people’s investment in brand-building and generating a huge network of potential customers from which to generate further incremental revenue. This isn’t just limited to the giants, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter; it’s also coming from emerging platforms such as Pinterest, Etsy and innovative platforms such as crowd-funding organisation KickStarter.

There’s no doubt today that these networks provide a significant opportunity in directing people to the fact that your business exists, as well as the ability for them to also generate further interest from their friends and associates. However, you need to consider a number of factors when making an investment of one of your most crucial assets – time – when deciding your marketing strategy. For many, Facebook just isn’t the right forum to generate appropriate customers. Instead, more niche communities that have a vertical focus are much more worthwhile. So in this instance, bigger is not always better and sometimes it’s better to be a small fish in a small pond.

What’s crucial however is to make sure that you don’t just rely on one social network or platform. Terms change and if you put a step wrong (for example, using the Facebook timeline header to advertise a product) you may be cut off completely from your emerging customer base. OPM is like spread-betting; your investment may go down as well as up, so it’s important to spread the risk in terms of the anticipated costs versus rewards.

Additionally, in order to protect yourself, it’s also important to invest in a simple place that you own - a hub if you like - that can get the reciprocal ‘Google juice’ to get your business found in that and other search engines. Whilst many people spend a lot of time on Facebook, they also turn to search (increasingly on a mobile) in order to discover information and places to purchase the goods and services they require.

It’s extremely powerful to both interact and be present on social networks, but the additional ‘link love’ can benefit you by driving up your business in search results when you link those to an authoritative owned place. Additionally, linking that place (your own domain name) back to those creates a hub and spoke scenario, showing both search engines and customers alike that this is the main place that you want people to find when they search for you or businesses like you. You can keep your contact information up to date on all the networks simply by updating that one place and sharing that link, saving time and insuring you don’t lose customers along the journey.

Ultimately, that puts you more in control of still having customers find you if the social networks you’re on fall out of favour (think about the rapid fall from grace of sites such as Bebo, MySpace and FriendsReunited). Never sacrifice your relationship with the customer simply by relying on OPM when the internet and social networking is still in its infancy. Your hub can be a very simple and cost-effective place that effectively provides insurance against the changing environment online, so this investment is a key consideration to maximise that valuable time spent investing in generating new customer leads.

Source: b2businesshub.com


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