If you follow financial news in any way, shape, or form, you witnessed the IPO madness that occurred on Thursday, May 19th. Anticipation was high leading up to the IPO, with estimates in the $32-$35 per share range for trading, and an end valuation at around $3 billion after the IPO. Well, these estimates proved to be slightly off… the initial public offering price of $45 was dwarfed by the closing price of $94.25. When all the smoke had cleared, this 109 percent price jump placed the market value at an unbelievable $9 billion.
Reminiscent of the Netscape IPO of the mid-90’s, LinkedIn going public is significant, not only because of the price per share at the end of it all, but because it marks the first public offering of a social media company. Many pundits view this as the indication of social media’s arrival – a stamp of legitimacy on the business world, and more significantly, on Wall Street. It also ramps up expectations for a number of other social media sites with IPO’s slated for the coming year, like Facebook, Groupon, Pandora, etc…
So, what does this mean for marketing? Obviously marketing and advertising take place on these social networking sites. In one day, we’ve seen an online social network for business professionals with a valuation comparable to some of the world’s biggest retailers. Perhaps more importantly for you as a business owner, entrepreneur, executive, etc… is the impact that having a social media presence can have goes beyond simply placing a banner ad on one of these websites. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other similar social media sites have become a means of not only communicating and advertising with customers and potential customers, but a means of learning about how they view the market as a whole, your brand, your competitors, and what’s important to them outside of the marketplace.
All of these elements can add up to be a tremendously valuable asset to you as you forecast and plan for marketing, as you interact with current and potential customers, and as you seek to improve current strategy. How, you ask? Where to start? Here are a four starting tips:
Set up your profiles
You can’t participate in social media without being on the social media sites. Get your profiles set up and make them as detailed as possible. Make sure that you can be easily found and that the name is recognizable.
Link to your profiles on your website
This ensures that anyone who visits your website has immediate access to your social network profiles. They can follow you on Twitter, befriend you on Facebook, get connected on LinkedIn, etc… Ask them to recommend you to their friends, business colleagues, and other contacts.
Blog, blog, blog
This doesn’t mean that you need to spend every waking minute writing blog posts. Nor does it mean that you should update your blog with any old information just to have updated it (definitely DO NOT do this)! Blogs are an opportunity to keep visitors to your site informed and present another opportunity (in addition to social networks) to connect with them. Don’t squander this opportunity!
Take advantage of the opportunity to keep up with what’s going on in your market, with your competitors’ blogs, and so forth. Websites like Technorati.com can be a great resource for exploring what’s going on in the blogosphere. Keeping your eyes and ears open will help you recognize potential opportunities out there.
Don’t be overwhelmed if this isn’t something you are (a) currently doing, or (b) comfortable with doing. Better to take it slow and learn as you go that to get bogged down and abandon ship. As always, we want to hear from you! Please contact us if you have any questions, concerns, or cries of outrage.