Live From DM Days NY: Leveraging Web. 2.0: LinkedIn's Mike Gamson Urges Marketers to Join the Conversation
June 17, 2009 — This morning, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, Ramesh A. Lakshmi-Ratan, Ph.D., DMA’s executive vice president & chief operating officer welcomed attendees to the second day of the DM Days New York Conference & Expo, which runs through June 18. “This morning we take a step into a part of that blend that’s growing in leaps and bounds. I’m talking of course about social networks, and all the new media options that enliven them,” Ratan said.
“Our newest DMA special interest council, the Social Media Council, last week released a research report that shows over 70 percent of companies we surveyed are already using external social networks for branding and collaboration. Almost 60 percent see social networking as able to have high impact on brand awareness,” Ratan continued. “DMA’s expansion into social media strengthens our ongoing efforts to help marketers capitalize on the latest technology and marketing innovations, while we work to ensure that all the channels remain open and economically viable. . . . We know from our experience with all types of networks that the value of a network rises along with the number of people it connects.”
In keeping with the theme of connection, Mike Gamson, VP of Corporate Solutions, LinkedIn gave a keynote address on how Web 2.0 can best be leveraged for marketing.
Gamson defined success for marketers in the Web 2.0 world as putting something into social networking before trying to get anything out of it. In explaining the often-used but not always understood “Web 2.0” designation, he expanded on several attributes. First, he said, it enables people to collaborate in new and different ways, and much more frequently. Web 2.0, Gamson explained, promotes interaction and empowers individuals. It also allows precise targeting through social graphs, removes geographic boundaries, and aggregates opinions.
Gamson used LinkedIn as a prime example of the power of Web 2.0. “With over 41 million users, and probably three or four more people who have heard of LinkedIn for every one [person] who’s signed up, you’re talking about an incredibly huge group of people,” he said. “Our company has no budget for advertising or traditional marketing, yet we’ve connected with that many people in a very short time.”
According to Gamson, the degree to which social network users engage with each other represents a key potential benefit for marketers who develop Web 2.0 “assets,” such as a strong profile and active participation in the conversations that take place within networks.
Sometimes, however, these conversations will not be positive for marketing. This leaves marketers with three choices, Gamson explained. “You can ignore the criticism and bury your head in the sand, or you can try to control what they say.” The third alternative is to join in the conversation, and to ask for input. Citing a case in which LinkedIn users were upset about a change, he said, “They could have easily been our biggest group of detractors. But instead, they felt listened to, and they became our biggest group of supporters.”
Gamson’s overall advice to marketers was to “be authentic” and “go deep” into the Web 2.0 arena. He challenged the audience to get involved and take a leadership role in developing this exciting new aspect of communications. Gamson emphasized that it is essential for marketers to join the conversation, and stress authenticity above all. “Web 2.0 is all about authenticity,” Gamson said. “If you’re not authentic, you’re customers will know it quickly.”
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