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Social marketers are excited about this next wave because of its ability to drive product discovery results toward a meaningful impact on sales, making it much easier to calculate social ROI.
As social media has evolved as a channel, brands and retailers have come to use it to connect with their customers in a wide variety of ways. As a result, what used to be considered a single category of activities - "social media" - has become much more specialized according to how a brand is putting social to work to drive a particular aspect of the business.
All the various definitions of social media and its implications could be (and often are) debated for pages and pages. But here I'm going to tackle just three of them that I believe represent a specific "evolutionary line" with respect to how brands are using this channel to influence their customers. The evolutionary line is as follows:
Social Media (2007) -> Social Marketing (2009) -> Social Merchandising (2013)
This is an evolution, not a revolution, with each new wave extending (rather than replacing) the opportunities for companies to leverage social in their broader corporate efforts.
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