I had the privilege of attending PodCampSLC today which is a podcasting, blogging, and vidcasting conference style of event where one go to sit in session to learn about various aspects of multimedia and applying it to a business model. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the whole thing but I’ll share what I did learn while I was there mixed in with some of my own personal recommendations.

According to statistics from the Omniture Summit, which I was unable to attend, there will be 8 billion dollars of ad spend on social networking this year. This is a 75% increase from last year 2007. By 2011, 12% of ad spend will be completely devoted to social networks and social media channels. So what does this mean for you? Well it’s kind of an eye-opener to see where the industry is headed. Blogging alone won’t give you the pervasive coverage you need to make your voice heard. A rich mix of multimedia is pertinent to provide enhanced content to your audience.

Understanding Your Audience

Before even beginning to outline a strategy for your social media marketing deployment you must really understand your audience. This is easier said than done. We hear a lot of marketers preach about understanding you audience and understanding your community but how exactly do you do that? Well, if you don’t have thousands to throw at in-depth demographic research there’s a few things you can do.

  • Do some surface level demographic research with tools like Microsoft’s adCenter Labs and Quantcast to profile audiences that visit certain sites or are searching for certain keyphrases.
  • Conduct some brief surveys. The strategic deployment of this will be highly contingent upon your industry.
  • Use gut intuition. Personas are also a great way to classify stereotypical viewers of your media to taylor your message to them.

Different Multimedia Platforms

You might be wondering which form of multimedia you should be utilizing the most. I believe it was the CEO of Podango who was speaking when he layed out a pretty good rule of thumb. “Blog everyday, podcast every week, vidcast once a month.” The point is you need a good blend of media to really establish an audience from all different channels and platforms that have all different needs and desires.

The Impact of Multimedia on Search Engine Optimization

With Google’s Universal Search being such a large part of the search engine result pages (SERPs) it’s important that you have enhance media on your site to try to dominate some of the verticles that appear in blended search such as YouTube. This will allow you to own the SERPs while bringing in more traffic to your site.

The Impact of Multimedia on Social Media Marketing

Social Media thrives off audio, video, and imagery in additional to traditional copy. If all you’re doing is blogging you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. I’m not going to get into the four dominant personality types you need to be targeting but I will say that some of them respond differently to the same message in different format. If you really want to get all cylinders pumping then you need to outline a marketing strategy that’s transparent, pervasive, scalable, and robust.

Taking Shortcuts with Vidcasting and Podcasting

Between your families, work, hobbies, social network participation, school, reading, and learning I know the last thing you have time for is full blown multimedia production, right? Well rest asure there are a few shortcuts. For example, Buzzbooster.com was telling me about a service that submits your online video to 45 different social media channels and strips your audio and submits it in podcast format to a whole bunch of others. So you’re actually getting killing two birds with one stone but unfortunately I can’t remember the name of it. However, TubeMogul.com is similar one that is free and sends out to 23 different social media channels. In additional, there are services like CastingWords that transcribe your audio or video into text so you can post it in blog format and search engine optimize it.

Monetizing Multimedia

So you’ve done all this hardwork, have a big audience, now what? There are additional ways to monetize your media. Some ways are through:

  • paid subscriptions
  • paid sponsorships
  • lead generation

One point made was that Web users have been trained to expect content for free so paid subscriptions are often times harder to push. You can find paid sponsors but unless you have a massive subscriber base and audience then most companies won’t be interested in forking out the big bucks. There are residual benefits through branding and lead generation which requires an additional marketing strategy to meet your goals in these areas.

One Size Does Not Fit All

When a lot of people thing of social video they think of YouTube. It was reinforced at PodCampSLC that YouTube is NOT an end all solution nore a outlet for the highest amount or best quality of traffic. Other channels like Revver and BlipTV can not only be easier to get your message across in but provide more qualified traffic all depending on your goals, niche, content, and industry. YouTube tends to be more focused on a younger audience while Gather.com tends to be more focused to adults 40+ years of age.

Summary

So in order to be a good Internet Marketer you really need to get out there. Putting all your eggs in one basket is a surefire one-way ticket to failure in the long-run. It’s also improtant to note that widespread multimedia is not the solution for EVERY client or industry either. The Web is changing everyday and it’s highly advisable to break out of your traditional habits and embrace the future to come.