4 Dimensions of Social Media Marketing: A Framework in BETA.

The following is a frame work of the four dimensions of Social Media Marketing. It is in BETA and would really appreciate your feedback and constructive criticism on how you find the model to describe the work of a Social Media Marketer.

Four Dimensions
There are four dimensions to how a marketer uses social media to help communicate with their customers. Those four dimensions are ‘Marketing Intelligence, Response Unit, Idea Propagation and Platform Creation.’ As you will see with this model Social Media Marketing is not a new concept - we have been practising a lot of the actions of a SMM for a number of years; however the new environment has changed the dimensions of social media marketing. This model should account for all SMM activity.

In general, the amount of time needed also increases with each dimension. The following steps have been broken down with a definition, the antecedents (the action that have led to this situation), traditional fields of marketing that the dimension is grounded within and an example of how to apply it.

Why have I created this table?
It is primarily a way for me to organize the material that I talk about on this blog. There is a lot of advice about social media marketing and having a framework will allow you to categorise the information into folders. To me it is like having a bundle of papers on your desk which talk about social media - this framework will act as a filing cabinet for the information to be stored within.

1. Marketing Intelligence-

‘The process of marketers discovering information about their product, market or business by reading content published by users’

With the lower barriers to producing content online with Web 2.0 tools (oh god I hate using that term) there has been an increase in users being able to post their opinion about products/industries or companies in a public forum. Users’ motivation for producing this content is usually to inform other users about the products and services they are using.

Traditional field of Marketing – Marketing Research
The online field has opened up a new avenue for Marketing Research. However, there are a number of differences to traditional Marketing Research.

1. Public information
The information is publicly available; therefore every marketer has the potential to reach this information.
2. Easily Accessible
The internet is accessible to anyone with a computer. Therefore a Marketer who wants to do some quick research will be able to.
3. Cheap
This information is in a public forum where it is freely accessible by anyone. Therefore the marketer is only paying in their time to find the information.
4. Buyer to Buyer Information
Product reviews/opinions published online from consumers gives marketers a great opportunity to see how buyers communicate the benefits and disadvantages of a product to one another.
5. Free from bias
The initial dialogue that is published online is free from a researcher’s bias.

Example – I hate Connex Facebook Group
Connex have got a number of sites where the user publishes information about their service. This information can actually be useful in showing what it is about the service which annoys customers the most. Connex can gain vital marketing information from reading the reviews people have published on the Facebook Group ‘I hate Connex’
There was also a Twitter feed that was set up to congregate information published about Connex.

2. Response Unit

‘Is basic response by a marketer to content that was published online by a user.’

With the rise of social media it has turned the internet from a one way communication medium to a two way communication channel. This has been done by creating tools which enable conversation. Such technology as having a comments section within Blogs allows people to create a conversation rather than just consume the information.

Traditional Field of Marketing – Customer Feedback
Response Unit is very similar to Customer Feedback channels such as a hotline telephone number. However there is a major difference between this traditional medium and online Response Units.

With an online response unit you are not just responding and communicating with one person but you have an audience watching you respond to this problem. With online, conversations are published for others to read at a future time. Therefore there is now an audience watching as your respond to customer feedback. You now have the power to inform a larger audience through your Response Unit activity.

Example - 1 employee from Connex/Veolia vs. A group of angry Bloggers
The following is an example of how a worker for Veolia the holding company for Connex responded to negative feedback about their recent advertising campaign. Great example of how a Response Unit activity should be implemented.

Idea Propagation

‘Is actively creating a product of value that can be used by social media participants and travel through social media channels’

Social Media allowed for individuals to set up channels of communication that rivaled traditional channels. Bloggers were the first to realize this power with the ability to command large audience consuming their content per day.

Now, sites such as Facebook allowed people to get in touch with their complete network of friends and communicate with them all at once. Where someone used to be able to tell 10 friends about a new product, they can now jump on Facebook and communicate this in their Status bar and tell 500 of their friends about it.

Traditional Fields of Marketing – Public Relations/Word Of Mouth
Idea Propagation is similar to the role of Public Relations in creating relationships with media outlets which can help get their message out to large audiences. However the main difference between traditional PR and Idea Propagation is that there is a now a large number of niche Channel Owners (Bloggers, Podcasters, Youtubers) which usually do not look at their channel as a business venture.

The second Traditional Field of Marketing that Idea Propagation borrows a lot of theory from is Word of Mouth Marketing. Word of Mouth Marketing concentrates on how ideas spread through a community. The advantage of online is that it is now easier to track the spread of an idea.

Examples of Idea PropagationDove and Australian Bloggers
Dove’s Go Fresh Promotion used Idea Propogation to launch their ‘Go Fresh Campaign’ using the new media channels of Australian Bloggers including Karen Cheng.

4. Platform Creation

‘Is creating a communications platform, or a channel within an existing platform, that can deliver content to an audience.’

With the ability for users to create their own channels of communication, it also gave companies this opportunity to speak directly with their consumers. Technology now allows us to reach an audience more economically than ever before.

Traditional fields of Marketing – Mass Media
Although not directly within Marketing, Platform Creation is closely linked to the literature on Mass Media. It is now the job of the company to create content that is engaging for the user. Where companies could previously only buy a share of audience time through media sales, companies now need to be able to both produce content and integrate their brand message within this content.

Examples- Blendtec
Blendtec, the blender company created a communication platform with their product
engaging ‘Will it Blend’ videos on Youtube.

‘Is every piece of information about the company and its environment that reaches the user, either intentional or unintentional’

The stimulus is every interaction that a company has with a consumer. This includes its advertising, products, store personnel and website. In the case of Connex, the stimuli are the actual experience of riding the train, dealing with the Connex workers and the advertising campaigns that they have. It is these interactions that cause the consumer to decide to publish information on the company.

For example, people set up the Facebook group ‘We hate Connex’ in reaction to the stimulus of them receiving a bad service from the company. Stan Lee decided to write a blog post on the advertising of Connex/Veoilia after seeing the print advertising campaign.


Unknown said...

Gold, this looks very much like your corner piece or foundation stone as I like to call it. Very well done

User said...

Good work, Jules, looks robust!

Only thing I can think of is when you talk about the use of social media as a market research tool you could mention that it's very unscientific compared to traditional market research!

Anonymous said...

Your initial concept is flawed:

"There are four dimensions to how a marketer uses social media to help communicate with their customers."

1. There are more than simply 4.
2. A marketer doesn't use 'social media,' the social network decides and then the marketer takes advantage of that knowledge to market.
3. "...with their customers..." is old school. Everyone is a consumer, and yet we all get to take our business elsewhere.

It's as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

And, btw, it wasn't 8:25 am EST when I posted my comment.

Apparently, you have a lot of work to do. I'd start with time and space, and then work from there.

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Oh yeah and 8.25 it was 8.25 because I was watching you at the time.

Julian Cole said...

@anonymous I love when the voice of anonymous comments. I think for the activities that marketers use social media for there is currently only 4 dimensions. Can you mention any other activity that could not fall under one of these categories?
You know there is a difference between customer and consumer?
The customer is the person who buys the product and the consumer is the end consumer of the product. When your mother buys you a chocolate bar and you eat it. She is the customer and you are the consumer. Customer is not old school it is still very relevant! But you make a good point, I do need to change customer to another word, any suggestions?
8:25AM is Melbourne, Australian time. So for as long as I am not living in America or Europe, I am going to keep it that way.
Anonymous, I put the question back on you ‘What activities does Social Media Marketer perform which could not fit under these dimensions?’

@Josh thanks so much for the words of confidence

@Rick thanks make I will put those unscientific changes in.

Unknown said...

Hey Jules,

great to finally see this - where did you duck out to at PubCamp? Part of me doesn't blame you mate ;-)

I had lots of thoughts on your fantastic framework, but I'll pop a few here and we can discuss it further somewhere eles (beer? coffee?). Apologies if they don't make as much sense as they could - it is actually 8:25pm here:

1. Where in your framework is there room for a feedback loop? What I mean is, you might like to think about a way in which the marketer is also modifying the strategy in response to evolving nature of a social media campaign.

2. Points 1, 2 and 3 of Marketing Intelligence are quite similar. Perhaps you could find an umbrella term for these?

3. What about the term 'Channel monitoring' to describe the Marketing Intelligence dimension of the framework? I think it better captures the idea that a marketer is actually doing something, i.e. monitoring.

Just a few points as I said, but I've got lots more thoughts on the subject. Great job getting this out ther ein BETA, now let's see what the social media community does with it!

faris said...

I LIKE THIS mate. It's a good framework of engagement.

Anonymous said...

Love the social media marketing framework and would love to see an expansion of your point in Marketing Intelligence that it's "Cheap -
This information is in a public forum where it is freely accessible by anyone. Therefore the marketer is only paying in their time to find the information." True, it's easy to get at the information, however, there's so much, it takes time to collect, categorize, and distill it all. There are simple online tools (Googling your brand name would be the simplest) and software service solutions like BuzzLogic and Buzzmetrics but even then it still takes a human being to interpret and use the information. Or is there another way I've missed? Social media marketing is turning into a practice discipline unto itself. Looks like marketing intelligence might become a full-time job or at least a sub-practice.

Julian Cole said...

Hey Jason, glad to hear that you are a fan of the framework!

I think you are right on the money it does require a full analytst to have someone analyse these comments. But it all depends on the results that you are after.

You are not paying participants for their time therefore you will be saving time there, however the disadvantage to this is that you cannot control the conversation, you only have the opportunity to listen and not direct.

It is now making marketing research a little more achievable for small businesses as well. If yopu are a business that is money poor and time rich then social media is great for you because you do not have to pay for a marketing research company. You can find rich information online about your industry or product line.

An Australian Qual Researcher who is thinking in this area is Katie Harris check out her blog

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Great article. Being new to caretaking the social media marketing for my company this article has given me a good foundation to work with. Love all the examples given.

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As early as 2008, there's already social media. Hence, what we've been doing in social media right now can be traced back years ago. And it all boils down to the basics of marketing. Jason, emethod

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