Consumer interaction is key to brands cracking the social media conundrum

In marketing terms, search is still relatively new, but is being upstaged by the new kid on the block – social media. Marketers looking to build a set of new-media tools have more to play with than ever before, but they have far more than ever to learn. It can be daunting. Brands must realise it is not just a case of setting up a profile page; that there is a range of social-media channels available to them.

Through social media, brands have a way to engage with consumers and raise their profile like never before. The challenge will be to strike the balance between their commercial goals and user privacy. Brands can ensure that they strike this balance by monitoring consumer buzz over social media, and analysing and using that information when communicating through these channels. Social networks will also have to deal with the dilemma of how they can monetise their sites without compromising users who consider the networks to be their own personal space.

Change is inevitable, as the rise of social media has shown, and the area of search is no different. As this supplement was being compiled, Google announced a new controversial policy of allowing competitors to bid on rival trademarks in the UK and Ireland. The change, which has been standard in the US since 2004, will see brands bid against trademarked terms, so their sponsored listing comes up when consumers search for a rival company.

Some suggest it could spark a bidding war for trademarked terms. Some say brands will be looking to protect their trademarked terms with legal actions and some say there will be a return to natural search. Google’s decision looks set to bring large-scale change to the way companies conduct search activity.

In a fast-changing world, however, there is one undeniable constant: interaction with consumers is crucial.

Rufus Jay
New media reporter
Marketing Week

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